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Govt defends college policy favoring boys

By Liang Chen (Global Times)

08:37, August 30, 2012

The Ministry of Education cited "national interests" as it defended a policy that makes it more difficult for female students to enroll in some colleges, amid accusations that the regulation was discriminative in nature, reports said.

"A number of majors at some universities" adjust the ratio of male to female students by raising threshold scores for female candidates at the national college entrance examination, the Beijing Times reported Wednesday.

The Beijing Zhongze Legal Counseling and Service Center for Women, an NGO dedicated to women's rights, complained to the ministry in an open letter in July.

In the letter, the NGO urged the ministry to look into allegations that some colleges had lowered their minimum scores only for boys in the college entrance examination, an adjustment they claim constituted discrimination against female students.

'In consideration of the national interests, the ministry has permitted some universities to adjust their ratio of the female and male students in some majors, to fulfill the demand for special talents for special posts," the ministry said.

"The ministry has yet to release information on the majors and universities that were permitted to set a higher score for girls," Lu said.

"It is unfair as girls have to get a higher score in the college entrance exam to get enrolled in the same major at the same school with boys."

According to the website of the Beijing Foreign Studies University, the minimum score required for girls in Beijing in 2011 to be enrolled as an Arabic major at the university was 598, while for boys the requirement was 564.

"We're inclined to enroll boys considering their vocational advantage, as it is much more convenient for boys to work with people in Arab countries as boys can find it easier to get a job," a professor with the School of Arabic at the university, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Global Times.

The professor said that the ratio of male to female students in their school is now six to one.

The admissions office for the university refused to comment Wednesday.

Many universities, mainly military universities, schools for aeronautics and astronautics, set different

thresholds for boys and girls.

Balancing the structure of the talents is one of the considerations, Wang Hongcai, an education expert from Xiamen University, said.

Geng Shen, a researcher at the Beijing Academy of Educational Sciences, said the different thresholds aim to select the most talented students.

"Some universities would raise the threshold for girls to choose those that can be competent enough after they graduate," Geng said.

Du Liya contributed to this story

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