Important Changes to Gaokao Exam Policy

 May 29, 2019

China's 2019 national college entrance exam will start on June 7. Here is some information for parents and students on what is considered by many the most important exam of all.

Over 10 million students to sit for gaokao

More than 10 million students have applied to take part in the annual examination this year, Minister of Education Chen Baosheng said earlier this month at a meeting to ensure the smoothness of the examination, known as the gaokao.

He urged efforts to guarantee the safety of test papers, the sound organization of exam sites, quality of grading and fairness in college enrollment.

Data showed in 2018 there were 9.75 million applicants, increasing 350,000 from 2017.

A more comprehensive 2019 gaokao

The exam should test all-around qualities such as morality, and reduce testing of knowledge by rote, aiming to facilitate students' key abilities and core qualities in teaching and examination, the Ministry of Education said in April.

Universities are expected to add a physical exam for independent enrollment, in the hope students would attach more importance to physical training.

Any behavior violating regulations or laws in the exam will receive severe punishment.

Measures to prevent 'gaokao immigration'

The Ministry of Education issued an urgent notice to schools to prevent "gaokao immigration".

"Gaokao immigrants" refers to those individuals who lack a hukou (household registration) or student status in a province but still attend the gaokao in that province.

High schools should strictly follow admission procedures and policies, and are banned from vying for ace students in violation of regulations.

College admission policy changes

Starting this year, there will be only five batches of universities for students to apply from the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, after combining second and third batches of universities.

Beijing has also combined its first and second batches of universities for students to apply, but allows students to apply to up to 16 universities and 6 majors at each.

Sichuan province has increased the school number from 6 to 9 for students to apply in each batch.

5. Favorable policies for rural students

Students from China's rural and poor areas will continue to enjoy favorable policies when they apply for major universities in 2019.

The poverty-stricken counties entitled to special enrollment plans will continue to enjoy such policies in 2019 even if they have already shaken off poverty.

China's medical colleges will enroll 6,700 rural students this year who will work for rural health centers in central and western China upon graduation.

With financing by the central government, students will enjoy five-year free education in majors including clinical medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Mongolian medicine, traditional Tibetan medicine and traditional Dai ethnic medicine.

6. No excessive publicity of 'gaokao zhuangyuan'

Gaokao's top scorers, known as the zhuangyuan, have long been worshipped in China, but this year the Ministry of Education has strictly cautioned authorities not to publicize them.

The rate of students enrolled by universities is also banned in promotion by schools, and slogans for gaokao are also under strict management.

7. Reform plans for gaokao in more provinces

Eight provincial-level regions joined in gaokao reform this year. The change will cover students who entered high schools in fall 2018 or later in Hebei, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Fujian, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong and Chongqing.

The reform allows the students to have more choices — up to 12 combinations of subjects instead of the current two choices between arts and science. Their performances during high school academic tests will also serve as measurable indicators.

A total of 14 regions are implementing the comprehensive reform since the State Council in 2014 initiated it. The other six regions are Shanghai, Zhejiang, Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong and Hainan.




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