The following item was part of my daily dose of the Economist this Tuesday the 7th of June:
Class action: China’s university entrance
The 9.4m teenagers taking the two-day exam which starts today have been cramming for years. The tests, known as the gaokao, will (they believe) determine their entire future. Meritocratic exams have been revered in China since imperial times, when any man could sit them to enter the civil service. For centuries they enabled the poor but talented to rise to high office. The gaokao is intended similarly to be a great leveller. But China’s education system is becoming more unfair. The number of university students has increased nearly sevenfold since 1998, but the expanded intake has mostly been from cities, whereas 90% of rural youths leave school at 15 or younger. As a result the country is increasingly divided between those with degrees and those who never even make it to senior high school. Give China’s rulers a failing grade on that test.