Thursday, April 14, 2005

More On the Chinese Education System

This One Is For Ted
Originally uploaded by billmcgonigle.
I had a discussion with one of my Chinese TAs about the college system here in the Middle Kingdom. Mostly we concentrated on the application process.

High school students graduate in June, and shortly after participate in a 3 day examination. This harks back to the olden days of China where the first civil service exam in the history of man would test one's intellect, wisdom, and endurance for days on end.

Three or so weeks after the exam, maybe in late July, the students receive both their score and the name of the college they will attend. A little more than a month later, they matriculate. Thats is.

There isnt so much of an application process, certainly not like what we have back in the States. Before the high school students take this national exam, they submit a list of schools they'd hope to attend. There might be 4 or 5 levels of schools, and for each level a student may "wish" for 3. Depending on how high they score, they are fitted to the appropriate level of university, and after that, the government sorts them to one of their 3 requested institutions.

Seems very cold, not that that college process in the US is a happy fun time, but when you realize how many students they are dealing with here it is hard to consider any other method. Even so, I'd be nuts not knowing where I'd be studying for my degree until a month before I would have to leave.

Regardless, China does not have enough classroom space for the number of youth who wish to attend college. This method does the best it can to provide a logical solution to the problem.

On a slightly related note, seems like most Chinese are discouraged from holding any sort of job till they are done with school. I've recently been listing off the different positions I held throughout high school and college and ever since (dishwasher, stockboy, mechanic, pool boy, factory worker, cashier/manager, researcher, political consultant, bouncer, program director, legal assistant, teacher) and it amazes them that someone would ever want to work that much or hold such a variety of jobs. But I've always considered my jobs to be some of the finer points of my education, and they have also introduced me to some of my best friends. Either way, I'm happy they are as captivated by these stories as they were last week with my shoe size.


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