China / Society

Soaring number of migrants to attend China's gaokao

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-06 21:03

BEIJING - The number of migrant students taking Saturday's college entrance exam locally will increase 12-fold from last year because a birthplace-specific examination policy has been fully eased.

Soaring number of migrants to attend China's gaokao

Grade 3 students from Jingshan school for migrant children revise before the college entrance examination, or gaokao, in Jinjiang city, Fujian province, June 4, 2014. Some 3,600 migrant students will sit the exam in Fujian this year.[Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese citizens' access to pension, medical insurance and education are largely restricted within the regions where their household registrations are officially recorded -- in most cases, their birthplaces.

Although the government no longer ties migrant children's compulsory education to their native regions, the restriction on the college entrance exam was not eased until 2012. Many rural families who migrated to cities for better jobs complained because it was inconvenient for their children to go back for the crucial exam, known as the gaokao.

This year, some 56,000 students will take the test locally, an increase from 4,440 in 2013 -- the first year since the ban was lifted, the Ministry of Education said in a statement Friday.

The statement said last year's lackluster reaction to the policy was down to it not being released in a timely manner and complicated application procedures.

In 2013, 12 provinces and municipalities held examinations for migrant students. This year, the coverage has expanded to 28 provincial-level regions.

With a vast population and grim employment prospects, China's college entrance exam is seen as a make-or-break competition and offers the chance to attend one of the country's prestigious universities.

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