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Student surfers fail the grade
By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-05 09:56

More Shanghai University students than ever before have failed courses and been forced to drop out of school, the Xinmin Evening News has reported.

Eighty-one Shanghai University students were persuaded to quit school in the middle of last month after failing more than the allowed number of courses in a given time.

The failures are blamed on too much time spent surfing the Internet.

"Any student who flunks more than a third of all courses is given a warning," said Zhao Meng, from the university.

"After receiving three warnings in succession or accumulating five, the student will be given a one-year trial period.

"If they still do not complete the required courses in the year, they will be dismissed." Zhao said the measures were clearly stipulated in the university's regulations.

"More than 360 students, most computer science majors, should have left school last July," he said.

"We've allowed one more semester for them to make up their grades, but these 81 still could not accomplish it."

University Vice-President Zhou Zhewei said: "This is an effort to rectify some students' inappropriate studying attitudes."

Many other universities in the city claimed it is quite normal to persuade students to quit school, even such a large number.

Ma Lei, an official from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said students were dismissed every year.

Tong Xuefeng from Tongji University, another top university in the city, said the highest number in one year was almost 100.

"But they are not kept out of university forever," said Ma.

"Every year, we see students who had been persuaded to quit come back after taking the entrance examination."

Internet blamed

Ma attributed most of the students' failure to the Internet.

"Once they have become obsessed with the Internet, playing games, or chatting on-line, they stop going to class and stay in Internet cafes or their dormitories, day and night," said Ma.

"The Internet and computers are becoming a bigger problem for young students," said Wang Shumei, a professor from Fudan University, who is involved in compiling the health education textbook for the city's primary and middle schools.

"More children now have eyesight problems because of computers, and what's worse is they neglect their studies.

"We have actually included Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD), a common problem shared by many youngsters throughout the world, in the health education textbook for the second grade of middle school.

"We are hoping to help the students deal with it in a more sensible way."

Wang said health education lectures that will be held in all universities in the city also include topics like "Internet and health."

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