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University looks to open doors for students

By Luo Wangshu | | Updated: 2013-04-01 21:12

In order to develop a more diverse and innovative education environment, education experts, principals and teachers are calling for closer ties between China's high schools and universities

"We already offer college curricula for advanced high school students," said Wang Dianjun, principal of the high school attached to Tsinghua University.

Speaking during the first high school education seminar on March 22, he said educators should remember that test scores aren't everything.

For the majority of students, the only connection between high schools and universities is the gaokao, the national college entrance exam, said Shi Zhongying, faculty dean at Beijing Normal University.

The university has established an education research center for high school education, which is looking at more effective ways to study, including the introduction of preparatory college curricula in high schools.

"Our country lacks research into high school education. The center aims to collect sufficient and accurate data to evaluate high school graduates in multiple aspects, not only the academic performance," said Chen Guangju, vice-president of Beijing Normal University and director of the center.

Under pressure to do well in the gaokao so they can get into the best universities, high school students usually focus exclusively on the subjects tested in the exam.

"But the ties between college and high schools should go beyond the gaokao," said Shi.

Focusing on the gaokao creates problems when high school students enter university, as the students lack the motivation and interest to study without the pressure to do well in the exam.

"They don't know how to study," Shi said.

"But education should not only focus on students' academic performance, it should also train students to be all-round citizens with mature personalities," Shi added.

"We want to open different doors for students," said Tian Shulin, principal of the Beijing No 80 High School, adding that the school provides diverse school curricula and activities to students.

As a school with good links with overseas institutions, Beijing No 80 High School cooperated with Australian embassy, invited professors from the University of Western Sydney to give a lecture on March 28.

Roy Tasker, professor of chemical education and winner of the 2012 Prime Minister's Award for Australian University Teacher of the Year, talked about molecular chemistry to Chinese science students at No 80 High School.

Although the lecture was given in English in the late afternoon, nearly 200 students attended.

"It was interesting, different from what we usually learn. It might be the university style," said a student, adding that if the lecture had been given in Chinese, he would no doubt have benefited more.

Although better ties between high schools and universities are being encouraged, not everyone thinks it's a good idea. Some experts say that teaching the advanced college curricula in high school will only increase the pressure on struggling students.

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