High school students prepare for make-or-break test

By ZOU SHUO | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-05-17 07:43
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Students at No 6 High School in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, are instructed in physical exercise last month. DING GENHOU/FOR CHINA DAILY

Hard task

According to the Ministry of Education, the proportion of offline tutoring institutions for primary and middle school students has fallen by 92 percent, while there has been an 87 percent drop in the number of such institutions operating online for these students.

A survey by the National Bureau of Statistics found that more than 70 percent of parents said the amount of homework assigned to their children had been markedly reduced, while 85 percent of parents said they were satisfied with extracurricular services offered by schools.

Experts said that while the double reduction policy has made significant headway in reducing the academic burden for primary and middle school students, it will be much harder to achieve this for high school students.

Chen Zhiwen, editor-in-chief of the online education portal EOL, said that unlike primary and middle school pupils, there is no need for high school students to attend private tutoring courses, as they are kept sufficiently busy with their studies.

He added that with the gaokao being the main route for students to enroll for higher education, reducing the academic burden at high schools is a challenge.

Chen added that studying hard for three years at high school has paid off for some students, as they have gone on to top universities and well-paid jobs.

However, parents and students need to realize that not all students have the ability to pursue academic research and obtain degrees. Rather than focusing all their attention on studying to achieve good grades in the gaokao, students should explore at an early stage the things they are passionate about, Chen added.

Lan, the head teacher from Shuozhou, said the importance of the gaokao is so deep-rooted for students and parents that the emphasis is placed on studying at well-known universities, in preference to vocational colleges.

Vocational education should be further reformed so that students who do not do that well in the gaokao still have a promising future, he said.

According to Lan, some students have little interest in academic studies. Those who do well with oral work could consider becoming livestreaming hosts, while students who excel at practical work could become hairstylists, cooks or mechanical workers.

Learning a trade at a vocational college is as important as academic research at well-known universities, and vocational education should not be stigmatized, he added.

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