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Exams still fairest way for kids' school selection, not parents' pull

By Tao Wenyan (Global Times)

10:52, September 06, 2012

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Education recently prohibited junior high schools from using Mathematical Olympiad results as one of the conditions for admission applications.

It seems comforting that a large number of children will be released from this dull and obscure course. My little niece in Beijing sounded cheerful when she heard the news. Less homework, more playtime, that's all she, like most kids at her age, asks for.

But the reality always turns to be cruel. If not this test, there would be another. In fact, something similar happened in Shanghai last year, with the English-language Star Test. Like the Mathematical Olympiad training course, this was another "popular course" for parents, if not for students.

To get a head start, numerous parents pushed their young children to take the Star Test, the results of which are valued by many primary and junior high schools in considering the admission applications.

To relieve the heavy burden on schoolchildren, the Shanghai education authorities abolished this test by directly closing down the organizer.

However, around eight months later, schoolchildren are still busy with various courses and tests now. The daughter of a friend of mine complained that she and most of her classmates are studying English courses such as Side by Side, New Concept English and Pearson Test of English at weekends.

On the other hand, some parents are concerned about these prohibitions. Nearly every parent expects a better future for their children. If a kid can study in a good junior high school, it is more likely that he or she can get into a reputable senior high school, then a top university, and eventually get a decent job. However, the vacancies in the handful of good junior high schools each year are very limited compared with the huge number of applicants.

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