Demographics crucial to student deluge; parents seek any solution
Updated: 2010-01-07 14:32:48
(China TEFL Net)
Kids play games in a kindergarten in Beijing. Competition will be fierce when they enter primary school. [China Daily/Wang Jing]
Children born in 1999 and 2003 will face the least competition in middle school entrance examinations over the next 10 years, a demography expert suggests.
Research conducted by Chen Wei, a professor of Renmin University of China, shows that from 2009 to 2020 the numbers of students taking middle school entrance exams will exceed 100,000.
But in 2011 and 2015 the fewest students will take the exam - some 105,000 in 2011 and 102,000 in 2015.
Wang Jintang, an advisor of the Beijing committee of Chinese people 's political consultative conference, said local authorities should take the chance to adjust their policies to make sure the balanced development of compulsory education system.
Those born in 2007 and 2008 will have the most competition when they take the exams in 2019 and 2020.
There was a huge baby boom in the two-year period in Beijing, with 2007 the year of pig and 2008 the time of the Olympics, both regarded as auspicious times to have children.
Zhu Jianming, president of No 35 middle school, said that if the number of students in a class can be reduced to a dozen it would be more conducive for learning.
On average there are now about 40 to 50 students in each middle school class, according to Zhu.
Although China has a 12-year compulsory education system and junior high school is included, eager parents still try hard to get their children into a top middle school.
This is almost the only way to get an eventual ticket to a prestigious university in China.
Zhao Dan, a mother of a 5-year-old girl, said she might hold her daughter back a year to avoid the fierce competition.
Her daughter is supposed to enter into middle school in 2016, when there will be about 136,000 primary school graduates in Beijing.
If she enters primary school one year later, there will be 34,000 fewer students competing for the limited number of seats in top middle schools.
"I will make any kind of sacrifice as long as my girl can get into a good school," she said.
Educational authorities in China stopped unified middle school examination in the 1990s in an effort to eliminate an examination-orientated educational system.
Yet every middle school implements their own style of exams and a range of certificates have become criteria for selection of students.
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