China / Hot Issues

China embraces for largest exam

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-06-06 06:54

BEIJING - About three out of four applicants of China's annual national college entrance exam, the largest in the country and the world, will be admitted by universities, with the exam contents highly guarded by armed police and surveillance cameras.

Exam papers are strictly guarded by police and armed forces, and 94 percent of exam rooms have been equipped with surveillance cameras in order to maintain order, according to Tuesday's statement issued by the ministry.

China has mobilized various state departments to maintain exam order so to ensure its fairness and competitiveness, as the entrance examination, or gaokao, is currently the sole state-sanctioned "bridge" to the nation's institutions of higher learning.

In the capital, the Beijing summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, overlaps the time of the exam. Therefore, more traffic police are deployed to ensure smooth traffic on the exam days of Thursday and Friday,

About 9.15 million people will take the exam to vie for 6.85 million vacancies in the country's universities and colleges, the statement said.

This year's admission rate is up nearly 3 percent year-on-year, and the number of exam takers is down by 2 percent, the statement said, adding that there are more applicants from relatively underprivileged western regions.

In order to promote educational equality, 12,100 vacancies are allocated for students from 680 impoverished counties in 21 provincial areas, according to the statement.

The exam will take place in 310,000 exam rooms at 7,300 venues nationwide, the statement said.

Sixteen out of the 32 mainland provincial regions have independent exam contents, whereas the rest used unified exam papers overseen by the ministry, it said.

Rampant mass cheating

To respond to the rampant use of advanced technology in exam mass cheating, the educational ministry is trying to keep up with the times by amending its cheating rules to cover new technology.

Carrying equipment that is "capable of sending or receiving signals" into an exam is prohibited by the new rules, which previously restricted only cell phones and other telecommunication devices.

The new rules also clarify the role of surveillance cameras in exam administration, as the devices are an important means of collecting evidence if cheating is suspected.

Falsifying others' exam registration information or disturbing order during an exam will also result in punishment.

In recent years, online sales of electronic equipment and other devices used to cheat on exams have increased, and exam content has occasionally been leaked.

Preventing cheating has therefore become a "serious challenge" for the Ministry of Education, according to the ministry's website.

However, the ministry's efforts have already shown some results. The rate of cheating violations for China's annual university entrance exam has decreased for five consecutive years.

Anyone who is caught cheating on the national exam will be barred from taking the exam for one to three years following the violation, according to the new rules.

Meanwhile, in a recent crackdown of exam-related crimes ahead of the annual national college entrance examination, Chinese police have busted more than 100 criminal gangs suspected of selling contents of major state-level exams and equipment used in cheating in these exams, according to the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) on Monday.

Police have seized more than 1,500 suspects and confiscated more than 60,000 exam cheating devices, the MPS said, so as to "rectify the environment surrounding exam venues."

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