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China to phase out pro-talent policy in school admissions

By Wu Kai (People's Daily)    09:28, February 27, 2018

A notice released from China’s Ministry of Education has ordered primary and middle schools to stop favoring applicants with special talents, such as those in sports.

The notice asked schools to stop enrolling students based on their special talents and to cancel such admission projects by 2020.

It’s seen as a response to growing calls for a fair education system, since the program allows a certain number of students to win extra points for special skills, which is seen as a shortcut by some parents to make their children get ahead of other students.

In 2014, the ministry issued a document, requiring schools to downsize the proportion of enrolled students to 5 percent to junior middle schools.

“I think the new requirement will upset some parents who spent a lot of time developing their child’s special talents, but I hope it could be implemented as soon as possible,” said Amy Yang, a primary school teacher in central China’s Hubei Province.

“The pro-talent program makes it unfair for those who study harder to improve their academic scores,” Yang added.

The initial purpose of the program was to encourage more students to make the best of their talents, but it seems more like a burden for their parents.

Jason Wong, a father of an 11-year-old boy, said his son had been learning Chinese painting and piano. The cost of the lessons for a month can reach 3,000 yuan (roughly $475).

Wong said he has to put up with the burden, as half of his son’s classmates were developing their talents. He added he doesn’t want his son to lag behind other students. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Liang Jun)

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