China / Society

Students win individuality scholarship

( Updated: 2014-08-12 08:46

Three hundred students in Laohekou city, central China's Hubei province, received an unconventional award of 10,000 yuan ($1,625) each for traits beyond academic merit, China News Agency reported.

The scholarship was established in 2011 by businessman Yan Jiehe, founder of China's largest private company, Pacific Construction Group. It awards a total of 55 million yuan ($8.94 million) each year to 5,500 primary and secondary school students from 55 cities who demonstrate distinctive individualities.

Scholarships in China’s education system are primarily based on academic performance, with considerations of sports excellence and morality. The assessment criteria of Yan’s scholarship's is distinctive in the way it emphasizes more on a pupil’s individuality, especially innovation.

According to Yan, a prominent problem with China's education system lies in its homogeneity, which he claims deprives students of individuality.

With annual sales of $59.6 billion in 2013, Yan's firm - Pacific Construction Group - is ranked 166th in the Fortune Global 500 list.

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