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School puts Uygur, Mandarin, English proficiency to test

Updated: 2014-06-09 07:28
By Gao Bo in Urumqi ( China Daily)

Salayidin Suletan, an 18-year-old Uygur student in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, planned well before taking the national college entrance exam: He wants to enroll at Xinjiang Normal University and become a physics teacher after graduation.

On Saturday and Sunday, he was among 162,600 students in Xinjiang to take the exam - 3,900 more than last year. About half of them will enter college.

In 2011, 147,700 students took the exam.

The first exam Salayidin took was on the Uygur language, instead of a standard national test for Mandarin. His school, Xinjiang Experimental School, has been selected by the education authorities to do that. Its students are educated in both Mandarin and the Uygur language.

Sheng Chunhui, the school's academic dean, said students there would take a 150-minute Uygur language exam on the first day, then write the national papers on subjects such as mathematics, physics and chemistry in Mandarin before taking an extra test in English.

She said her school, the largest of its kind in Xinjiang, will have more applicants to choose from for the bilingual education program, thanks to a supportive government policy.

The central authorities recently decided to provide free high school education to students in southern Xinjiang, which Sheng sees as a chance for her school to enroll diversified sources of students who will later take the national college entrance exam in the same format as Salayidin has done.

Usman Ablimit, the father of a student who took the exam with Salayidin, waited anxiously at the gate of the exam site on Saturday morning.

"I hope my daughter will be enrolled in a college in Shanghai or Beijing, where she may have more chances," the 47-year-old said.

Salayidin, however, is determined to stay in Xinjiang.

"We are short of teachers here in Xinjiang, although we have a beautiful campus," he said.

"That is why I want to be a teacher. I want to contribute to education in Xinjiang."

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