May 7 (NBD) – On the occasion of the astonishing Stanford payment amid the stir-causing U.S. college admissions scandal, gaokao migrants, students moving to other provinces for a better shot at China's national college entrance exams (gaokao in Chinese) sparked heated discussions.

In late April, Shenzhen Fuyuan School (Fuyuan School) was suspected to bring in gaokao migrants from Hebei province, after the private school in southeast China's Shenzhen smashed the local top four schools in terms of academic performance in a mock test.

The local authorities on May 5 announced the plan to establish a special team to investigate issues of gaokao migrants and on May 6 released an email for case reporting.

Regular educational partnership or unfair shortcuts?

Upon investigation, Shenzhen authorities confirmed that among Fuyuan School's students in the top 100 of the mock test, ten were transferred from Hengshui No.1 High School in Hebei, a private school co-founded by prestigious Hengshui High School (Hengshui School).

Some parents also found the number of Fuyuan School's high-scoring students in gaokao last year also presented a sharp increase, with nine enrolled by Peking University and Tsinghua University, the elite colleges in China, most of whom once appeared in the publicity coverage of schools in Hebei province.

National Business Daily noticed that as early as 2016, Fuyuan School has partnered with Hengshui School to build a sub-school.

"It will harm the educational fairness in Guangdong and wrongly advocate the worship for exam-oriented education, if the team-up turns into a short cut for gaokao migrants", a parent lamented.

It's noticed that Fuyuan School, to raise academic performance, either brought A-list students from Hebei to take gaokao in Shenzhen via household registration in Guangdong, or sent Guangdong students to study in Hengshui School and attend gaokao back in Shenzhen.

As the admission scores of Chinese elite universities like Peking University and Tsinghua University in Guangdong are some 20 points lower than those in Hebei, some students with promising scores within such range in Hebei will be sent to Fuyuan School to take gaokao, revealed a user who claimed to have graduated from Hengshui School, on Chinese question-and-answer website Zhihu. 

According to another anonymous Fuyuan School graduate, those chosen students arrived at Fuyuan School one or two days before gaokao.

Imbalanced allocation of educational resources in question

In fact, gaokao migrants are found ubiquitous in many other provinces such as Fujian and Hainan as well.

Some parents attributed the emergence of gaokao migrants to the flawed policies and regulations. 

For example, as household registration decides whether or not one student takes gaokao in Fujian, many parents would purchase low-priced houses in remote counties to secure a chance for their children to take gaokao in the province.

At the same time, a raft of parents moaned that gaokao migrants also display utilitarianism in China's exam-oriented education.

"In essence, the occurrence of gaokao migrants is a result of the imbalanced allocation of educational resources", noted Zhong Binglin, chairman of the Chinese Society of Education, "On the other hand, it reflects the scarcity in high-quality educational resources."

Those migrants will definitely inflict pain on local students and even break the equilibrium among the development of different regions, commented professor Lv Yingchun in an article.

To solve the problem, some held that the defect of relevant regulations should firstly be erased to sustain the educational equity.

Some also suggested that conducting universal gaokao and enrollment in the nation shall be a solution. 

But Liu Haifeng, director at the examination research center of Xiamen University, was at odds with the view, adding it's hard to implement such mechanism and more severe inequity might be bred since students enrolled by elite colleges are more likely to be concentrated in coastal provinces.

According to Zhong Binglin, expanding efforts to raise educational quality in disadvantaged areas with policy stimulus will be the most fundamental.


Email: gaohan@nbd.com.cn

Editor: Wen Qiao