June 7-9 marked the passage of this year’s National Higher Education Entrance Examination (NCEE) – better known as gaokao. This annual, multi-day examination is taken by high school students across the country to determine university placement. For many families, this is a make-or-break event that decides their child’s fate – whether they attend a top-tier university like Tsinghua or Peking University, or languish in a third-rate institution from the provinces. Here, we round up some of the best links from around the web.
For the fifth year in a row, the number of gaokao participants has declined compared to the past year (China Daily). There were 9.12 million test takers in 2013 – 30,000 less compared to 2012. This was attributed to a decrease in the gaokao-aged population.
- The Shanghaiist‘s own roundup linked to extreme new security measures, such as the banning of bras with metal clasps and door-to-door video surveillance of exam papers being delivered for the gaokao. Some students have resorted taking the pill to control period pain, while local residents were urged to use public transport to reduce traffic for students going to their exams.
- The Global Times has been reprinting "ridiculous" gaokao questions on its Facebook page, comments Beijing Cream. One question asked students to write about the "more important things": "Everyday [sic]we strive for what we think is important, but there are more important things in this world. People have different opinions on the matter. Please select a point of view and write an essay about your thoughts." Anthony Tao, in Beijing Cream fashion, obliges with an essay from the point of view of a rubber duck.
- Celebrities and other public figures wished students well on their exams using the Weibo hashtag #高考祝福 (gaokao zhufu). Tenor Pang Long (@feilongzaitian) wrote: "Gaokao candidates, relax your mind, welcome challenges with joy, and soar bravely along the journey of life. Jiayou!" Actress Chen Shu (@chenshublog) wrote: "Tomorrow is the beginning of gaokao. Students have prepared for this moment for a long time, and it is finally time to take the exam. The results of the gaokao can change a person’s life; for this reason, you mustn’t give up. But you should also know that a person’s life is not pre-determined, so do not only chase results. Jiayou, students! Give it your all and sprint to the finish! Once you’re done, you will have to meet a new journey."
- A new measure allowed migrant students to take the gaokao away from home for the first time, according to China Daily. In the past, migrant students were allowed to attend school in the city where their parents worked, but had to return home to take the gaokao. This measure is designed to address inequalities in the education system.
- After the gaokao, China Daily published photos of relieved students and their relatives, including the one pictured above (see here and here for more).
Results for the gaokao will be available at the end of June. But for now, millions of students will take a well-deserved break.
Photo: China Daily