Domestic Affairs

Fairness is crucial for the big exam

By Xie Dehao (
Updated: 2010-06-07 13:28
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The whole society hushed for the national college entrance exam, or gaokao, which started Monday. Authorities started trying to create a sound environment for test takers days ago. For example, places near examination sites are being monitored by police, noisy enterprises were required to stop working at night and some regions even closed all local Internet cafes before the exam. Meanwhile, an "exam economy" has quietly emerged in recent years. Students are being offered psychological tutorship, special meals and hourly-rate rooms by some opportunity-seizing businessmen. All of this means that society as a whole is part of the exam process.

Although it's undeniable that no alternative can replace the gaokao as the most fair way for talent selection under the current education system, its imperfect system is facing criticism from the public, who believe that a basic justice would be to allow all examinees, from all backgrounds, to stand at the same starting line. But frequent exam scandals are challenging and trampling on people's trust.

These cheating behaviors are divided into two parts: cheating during the exam and before the exam. Cheaters in the exam take advantage of various technologies or special relationships with invigilators to exchange and copy test answers, which was found in a region in Jilin province last year. Those who cheat before the exam are using special methods to get advantages. For instance, in order to get extra scores, Han students can become ethnic minorities and test takers can suddenly develop special talents. Or, students who don't have local hukou may temporarily move to another place to sit for the exam and, some can even sit for the exam by using others' identities. Such "migrants" and impostors have repeatedly been discovered over the years, indicating that cheating is far more severe than people thought.

Let's pray for a scandal-free exam this year and in all the years to come.