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Less Gaokao participants, more seek int'l study

(CRI Online)

15:06, June 07, 2013

Students study while waiting outside a test site in Beijing.(Photo/Xinhua)

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This year's national college entrance exam begins on Friday.

Government figures are suggesting the number of students sitting the Gaokao is going to be down, largely because high-school grads now have more options open to them these days.

Some 9 million students are sitting for this year's Gaokao.

That's a 30-thousand fall compared with the previous year.

It is the fifth consecutive drop nationwide.

Xiong Bingqi is the vice President of the Beijing-based 21st Century Education Research Institute.

"Some students are giving up on the gaokao as they seek admissions in overseas universities, while some choose to attend the high school for another year for a better performance. Besides, some schools, especially those in rural and remote areas, persuade the students to give up on the exam for a better enrolment rate. Last but not least, some students think it's useless to go to college."

A mother of an 11th-grade high school student in Beijing says her son will skip next year's gaokao, as it is proving to be too stiff a challenge.

"China's education is still lagging behind to some extent. In overseas universities, students can learn what they prefer, while here in China, they are judged based on scores, which only kills their creativity."

In contrast to the decline in the number of students sitting the national exam, an increased number of students are attending international schools to prepare themselves for overseas education.

Yan Xiaozhe works for an overseas education agency.

"Several years ago, people chose to study abroad as they are not able to be admitted to top universities. But now, more elite students who can even go to the Tsinghua or Peking University are also willing to go overseas, in a seek of better education."

Education experts say it could force China's higher education institutions to introduce more ambitious reforms if they don't want to keep losing talents.

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