45 students boycott college entrance exams

15:49, June 08, 2011      

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Though more than nine million high school students are trying their luck to be enrolled at one of China's universities, by sitting at the annual June 7-8 college entrance examinations, 45 of them have boycotted.

The 45 students have insisted that they will try something else – joining an "innovative" education reform program offered by an institution of higher learning in southern China.

The students boycotted the national entrance examination, despite the Education Ministry's clear-cut warning that the reform cannot sidestep the country's education system.

No one showed up at two examination rooms in the South University of Science and Technology of China (SUSTC) in Shenzhen City in south China's Guangdong Province.

The students won't get diplomas that are recognized by the Chinese Government, if they don't sit the exam required under China's current education system.

Instead, they will receive degrees and diplomas from the university itself, which used its own rules, instead of the national examination, to recruit in March its first class of students who the university aims to cultivate into "innovative talents."

"The absence from the test is not a denial of the education system," Zhu Qingshi, the university's headmaster, told the Xin'an Evening News. "The test remains China's one and only fair way of selecting talents. But we should also leave space for other methods to choose talents."

"They are not sacrificing their government-certified diplomas but gaining a rewarding experience. When they grow up, they will be very proud of this experience," Zhu said.

One father, who didn't give his name, said: "My son has faith in this school and the road he opted for. As parents, we have faith in him and support his choice."

Established in 2009, the university this year launched its own examination system. However, a Ministry of Education spokesman said that the school should ensure its reform was in accordance with law and the country's basic education system to protect students' rights.

In response, its first class of 45 students and their parents posted an open letter online, vowing they wouldn't attend the college entrance exam.

"The students don't refuse to take the national exam because they object to it, but because they stand by their own choice," one student's mother told The Beijing News. "They chose the SUSTC because it was their best fit."

People's Daily Online / Shanghai Daily
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