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English>>China Society

Concerns take aoshu out of the equation

By Cheng Yingqi in Beijing and Liu Ce in Shenyang  (China Daily)

08:40, September 07, 2012

Mo Lin, a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, credits the aoshu, China's fiercely competitive math Olympiad, for giving him the opportunity to receive an overseas education.

Mo, a 28-year-old Beijinger, did aoshu training since he was in primary school. He won several awards in high school and was admitted to Tsinghua University without having to sit the national college entrance exam, or gaokao.

"I learned advanced mathematics in high school, I was in an aoshu interest group. At first there were many students attending the course every weekend, but few managed to continue through as the course content became more and more difficult," Mo said.

"The competition in aoshu contests is actually as fierce as in gaokao, or even stiffer," he said.

The type of fierce competition Mo experienced has been in the public spotlight recently, after the Ministry of Education imposed stringent rules designed to curb the intense pressure the aoshu places on students.

On Aug 28, the municipal education authority of Beijing issued a notice suspending aoshu training in the city.

The Beijing Education Commission urged district and county-level education departments to investigate all aoshu courses in schools and training agencies, and suspend all courses until Oct 31. Any schools that count aoshu scores as part of their admission criteria will face punishment.

Following the tightened rules on aoshu, some of the most prestigious high schools in the capital, including Beijing No 4 High School and the high school affiliated with Renmin University of China, announced they would exclude such scores from their admissions policies.

Chengdu in Sichuan province, Xuzhou in Jiangsu province, Changchun in Jilin province and Chongqing, published similar rules to curb aoshu courses.

Gao Hong, director of the department of basic education at the Ministry of Education, said that the focus on aoshu is affecting the admission process at some middle schools.

The ministry will soon launch a website to receive reports on schools violating the new rules, Gao said.

According to a report in China Science Daily, however, for-profit training agencies and schools have been playing a big role in promoting aoshu.

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