Το Θέμα της Έκθεσης στις φετινές Πανκινεζικές – οι οποίες είναι γνωστές με την κωδική ονομασία Goakao – είχε κάτι από την στοχαστική ενατένιση της Άπω Ανατολικής Ασιατικής Κουλτούρας … Τα 10.000.000 Κινεζόπουλα που διαγωνίσθηκαν για 6.000.000 θέσεις στην τριτοβάθμια εκπαίδευση της Κομμουνιστικής Υπερδύναμης εκλήθησαν να σχολιάσουν την υπέροχη φράση: “Κοιτάζοντας τα Αστέρια με τα Πόδια σας στο Έδαφος ” ! Μου θύμισε Λουντέμη και κάποια δικά μας θέματα της δεκαετίας του ΄60 του τύπου “Χρόνου Φείδου” … Το video της ανάρτησής μας δείχνει τα Κινεζόπουλα να κάνουν χάρτινα αέρινα μονόφυλλα τα σχολικά τους βιβλία λίγες μέρες πριν από την έναρξη των Goakao … Οι κακές εκτονωτικές εφηβικές σχολικές συνήθειες είναι παγκόσμιες … Σας παραθέτω και ένα ρεπορτάζ Βρετανικού μέσου περί των Κινεζικών Εξετάσεων στην Αγγλική …
Students across the UK yearning for the end of their exams should spare a thought for their Chinese counterparts. For the millions of Chinese teenagers who have been sitting their final high school exams, known as the gaokao (literally “high-test”) for university entrance, the stakes couldn’t be much higher, nor the papers tougher. The exams are the only thing considered by universities, so there are no interviews, and “questions” can be bafflingly obtuse: the essay portion of Beijing’s exam this year invited students to reflect and ruminate on the expression: “Looking at the stars, with your feet on the ground”.
These tests cover everything the students have studied since kindergarten. They last two days and at the end of them a student’s whole future is decided. Many Chinese find it all unbearably stressful. Every year there are reports of exam-time suicides, leading to June being termed the “black month” by China’s youth.
This time round there have been orders for taxi drivers in major cities to stop honking, and traffic regulations have been changed especially for cars carrying candidates, as the authorities have tried to help the stressed-out students. Parents have been visiting temples to burn incense and pray for their child’s good fortune.
Competition is fierce, as nearly 10 million students will be battling for an estimated 6.6 million university places. China’s economic boom means that more people are able to pay for higher education and get ahead, while the majority of poorer and uneducated adolescent Chinese fill the country’s retail and service industries.
Getting into a good college such as the country’s equivalents of Oxbridge, Beijing’s Tsinghua, or Peking University, can lead to jobs with western corporations or to elite civil service positions. The ones who miss out will find spots in provincial universities or enrol in one of China’s less selective private institutions. But around 40% will fail.
Chloe Xu, who studies at Guilin No. 7 high school, admits the exams are incredibly stressful. “I have been studying from the moment I woke up to past midnight,” she says. But, asked if she thinks the system is unfair, she replies that the exams allow everyone an equal opportunity as people without money or connections can still get places.
Corruption is a long-standing problem, though, as the Chinese papers often report, with stories about bribery and cheating. And regional discrimination is a concern as universities have an admissions quota for each province, meaning that, for example, a student from Guangxi applying for a university in Beijing would have to do much better than a Beijing counterpart.
The questions are somewhat different from your average A-level paper. Some are politically tinged, for example, about whether US politics is dominated by money. Others are cryptic. In Nanjing this year students were given the essay title: “Recovering childhood”. It’s a topic that might seem poignantly ironic for stressed teenagers.
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