China Gears up for Gaokao

2016-06-06 22:35:07 | From:

China's 9.4 million students preparing to sit the national college entrance examination were cheered on Monday by a good-luck message from legendary British physicist Stephen Hawking.

"As many of you prepare to take the National Higher Education Entrance Examination, I want to wish you, the next generation of scientific minds, success in your academic endeavors," said Hawking via social media.

The test is set to start on Tuesday and lasts for two or three days in different regions.

Called "gaokao" in Chinese, the examination is a make-or-break challenge for Chinese high school students, especially those from poor families.

Across Chinese society, organizations have taken it upon themselves to ensure a good environment for examinees to achieve their best results.

Beijing police have assigned at least eight officers to each of the city's 96 exam venues. Patrols around the sites have been tightened up.

The municipal traffic department has taken measures to control traffic and crowds.

During exam hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Beijing Bus Group has ordered the rerouting of 16 bus routes on which buses would otherwise pass exam venues. It said it will add 200 bus trips to cater to the transport needs of students and their parents.

Hotels within easy reach of the exam venues are all booked out, as parents hope to buy their children more rest time.

In rural China, the road to sit the exam is much more arduous.

In Hulun Buir in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, a charter train on Monday took some 700 high students to Ali River Town 135 km away to sit the exam.

Since the local railway department started running the gaokao charter train in 2003, over 20,000 students have taken it for the exam. It is a rare means of transport out of the mountains.

Gaokao is considered a fair platform for young generations to seek a promising future. High schools with a good reputation for students getting high scores are very popular.

The exam has turned some Chinese high schools into factories churning out students capable of getting high marks by memorizing facts and figures.

The Liu'an Maotanchang High School in east China's Anhui Province is such a super school. It has 30,000 students on campus, two thirds of whom have parents renting apartments nearby.

"Our daily life is dull. But I am very willing to live such a simple life if my son can enter a reputed college," said Chu Zhaojun, a stay-at-home mother to one of Liu'an Maotanchang High School's students.

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