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Vested interests must not prevent gaokao reform

(Global Times)

13:12, October 24, 2012

A war of words on Weibo between local residents from big cities like Beijng and Shanghai and non-local residents has erupted in recent days. The issue is whether non-local residents should be able to enjoy the same preferential policies as local residents when entering colleges.

The Beijingers and Shanghainese are annoyed that their cities will allow students without a local hukou (household registration) to take part in the national college entrance exam, or gaokao, in Beijing or Shanghai, while the non-locals are criticizing the selfishness of those hukou holders for trying to maintain their monopoly over elite educational resources.

Local residents can be admitted to renowned universities like Peking University or Tsinghua with significantly lower scores.

The Beijingers and Shanghainese who oppose changes to gaokao policy in essence are not willing to give up the benefits they have long enjoyed courtesy of the hukou policy. They are worried that outsiders will use up the limited city resources and further squeeze the available opportunities, in an already fiercely competitive education and employment market.

However, the arrogance of some Beijing and Shanghai residents reflects their prejudice toward non-locals, their sense of privilege, and their contempt when it comes to social equality. Some of them even go to the extreme of calling upon the city to expel non-locals.

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