From Chinese Media

9.33 million students sit the Gaokao

Updated: 2011-06-07 16:07

By Jia Xu (

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9.33 million students sit the Gaokao
Students are seen in a test room on the first day of the national college entrance examination in the Guiyang No 9 middle school in Guiyang, capital of Southwest China's Guizhou province, June 7. This year, about 9.33 million students will take the exam in China, with a 15 percent decrease compared with last year. The admission rate is reported to be 72.3 percent.[Photo/Xinhua]

For 9.33 million high school students, June 7 is a big day - the start of China's annual College Entrance Examination (CEE), known as Gaokao in Chinese. However, the number CEE examinees, as released by China's Ministry of Education (MOE) on Monday, shows a third-year drop since 2008, reported today.

In 2008, China for the first time saw a significant drop in the number of CEE examinees, with less than 10 million attending the exam, continuing to fall to 9.57 million in 2010.

A 2011 College Enrollment Report conducted by Chinese Education Online, an Internet-based educational resourc operated by the MOE said the decrease in Gaokao examinees is due to the demographic decline of right-age examinees, views on graduate employment, and the wide choices available from overseas study.

The report shows from 2008 to 2011 there's a 24.1 percent increase in Chinese high school students studying abroad.

Contrary to the declining number of college prospects, the enrollment rate at China's colleges has seen a continuous increase from 57 percent in 2008 to 69.5 percent in 2010. This year, the MOE estimates the admission rate will be around 72.3 percent -- that is 6.75 million out of the 9.33 million examinees will go to college.

Education experts expressed concerns over the contrast between the declining number of college examinees and increasing enrollment rate among universities.

"Competitions to attract students will be fiercer," a MOE official pointed out. Tsing Hua University, the top Chinese university, offers 80,000 yuan ($12.347) as the top Freshman Scholarship to attract examinees.

Peking University also provides 50,000 yuan ($7718) to encourage high school students to apply. China's Xiamen University promises to exempt four-years of tuition fees and reward 20,000 yuan ($3086) in cash for the top ten students from each of the 31 provinces who apply to study at the university.

Apart from money incentive measures, experts also suggest colleges should enhance their education quality to attract more overseas students in order to compensate for the shrinking number of Chinese students.


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