Education reform

A woman walks with an umbrella amid rainfall in Shanghai, China, 13 September 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Why China needs to set its own house in order with a regulatory spurt

China has introduced a wave of strong regulatory moves on various industries over the past months, alarming international observers and causing jitters in the financial market. However, says academic Gu Qingyang, these moves could be necessary and might just set China in the right direction to face future challenges better.
Left to right: Chinese pop culture icon Gao Xiaosong (Internet), Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma (Bloomberg), and actress/producer Vicki Zhao (Weibo).

Celebrities scrubbed from the Chinese internet: Victims of China’s social revolution?

Personalities such as actress/producer Vicki Zhao and music multi-hyphenate Gao Xiaosong have recently been scrubbed from the Chinese internet. Curiously, among the “wrongs” they are thought to have committed, a common one between them is having strong links to big capital Alibaba. What are the authorities saying with this latest clampdown on well-connected pop culture icons? Is an engineered social revolution under way?
Students enter a school to sit for the first day of the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), known as “Gaokao” in Beijing on 7 July 2021. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

Destroying independent thinkers: Why China’s tutoring industry needs strong intervention

Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi looks at the vast amounts of money tutoring agencies in China have been spending on advertising to generate quick wins. In the long run, students enrolled at such institutions suffer as they end up memorising material rather than truly learning. Seen in that light, the government’s recent intervention was a long time coming.
Pedestrians walk on a street in the Wanchai district of Hong Kong on 6 August 2021. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP)

Beijing’s 'cleansing' of Hong Kong industries: Who will be the next target?

Amid taunts of being a “malignant tumour” by Chinese state media and being effectively blacklisted by Hong Kong’s education bureau, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (HKPTU) has announced its dissolution. While it is a professional organisation, it has long been associated with being a pro-democracy advocate. Is the HKPTU among the long line of those to fall in Beijing’s efforts to “cleanse“ various Hong Kong sectors? Who will be next? Zaobao’s China Desk finds out more.
Students leave school after finishing the first day of the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), known as “Gaokao”, in Beijing on 7 July 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

China's tutoring crackdown: It is not a random act by the Chinese government

The Chinese government’s recent crackdown on the tutoring industry is not a random act, says Chinese technology specialist Yin Ruizhi. If one has paid attention to media reports and government work reports, education has been an area of concern since 2013. Hence the "double reduction" policy is necessary and should not be a surprise if you have done your homework.
A colour supplement of Le Petit Journal from 1900 shows the Allied troops attacking Beijing.

[Picture story] The Boxer Rebellion: A wound in China’s modern history

The Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the 20th century goes down in history as proof that if the Chinese are weak, the West will take advantage and China will pay the price. It is a constant reminder to the Chinese of their past humiliations and guides their dealings with the West today. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao shares illustrations of the tumultuous times during that period.
Students arrive at a school to take the National College Entrance Examination known as 'gaokao' in Wuhan, Hubei province on 7 June 2021. (STR/AFP)

China's university entrance exam: Do Beijingers get a sweeter deal?

With China’s annual gaokao or university entrance exams ending yesterday, Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu looks at the furore caused by a Beijing student who had left his test centre early and seemingly breezed through the exam. Netizens were quick to point out that regional differences in resources, administration and test papers have led to unfair advantages. In the face of serious concerns, is it time to look this perennial issue squarely in the face?
Elementary school students play on International Children's Day in Hai'an in China's eastern Jiangsu province on 1 June 2021, a day after China announced it would allow couples to have three children. (STR/AFP)

Faster, higher, stronger: China's kids pushed to breaking point

In China, the term involution (内卷, neijuan) has been used to refer to various forms of inward spiral, regression or stagnation. Applied to education, it is the vicious cycle of kids being primed and plumbed for their potential. Cram-style preschool education, intense competition for places in elite schools, crazy property prices in school districts... the list goes on. If no one steps off the wheel, is there no end in sight?
In this file photo taken on 6 January 2021 Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC. (Alex Edelman/AFP)

US colleges rethink purpose of higher education after Capitol siege

The storming of the US Capitol on 6 January prompted a spate of statements, essays, and other reflections, particularly by US college presidents. What is the purpose of education, and what is the role of colleges in imparting higher ideals such as civic awareness and a respect for minority rights? US-based academic Wu Guo analyses the situation.