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Concerns Take Aoshu out of the Equation
作者:admin  发表时间:2014-8-16
 

Mo Lin, a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, credits the aoshu, China's fiercely competitive math Olympiad, for giving him the opportunity to receive an overseas education.

Mo, a 28-year-old Beijinger, did aoshu training since he was in primary school. He won several awards in high school and was admitted to Tsinghua University without having to sit the national college entrance exam, or gaokao.

"I learned advanced mathematics in high school, I was in an aoshu interest group. At first there were many students attending the course every weekend, but few managed to continue through as the course content became more and more difficult," Mo said.

"The competition in aoshu contests is actually as fierce as in gaokao, or even stiffer," he said.

The type of fierce competition Mo experienced has been in the public spotlight recently, after the Ministry of Education imposed stringent rules designed to curb the intense pressure the aoshu places on students.

On Aug 28, the municipal education authority of Beijing issued a notice suspending aoshu training in the city.

The Beijing Education Commission urged district and county-level education departments to investigate all aoshu courses in schools and training agencies, and suspend all courses until Oct 31. Any schools that count aoshu scores as part of their admission criteria will face punishment.

Following the tightened rules on aoshu, some of the most prestigious high schools in the capital, including Beijing No 4 High School and the high school affiliated with Renmin University of China, announced they would exclude such scores from their admissions policies.

Chengdu in Sichuan province, Xuzhou in Jiangsu province, Changchun in Jilin province and Chongqing, published similar rules to curb aoshu courses.

Gao Hong, director of the department of basic education at the Ministry of Education, said that the focus on aoshu is affecting the admission process at some middle schools.

The ministry will soon launch a website to receive reports on schools violating the new rules, Gao said.

According to a report in China Science Daily, however, for-profit training agencies and schools have been playing a big role in promoting aoshu.

The ministry published regulations in 2005 prohibiting schools from opening after-class aoshu courses.

The regulation turned private training agencies into thriving businesses. Some middle schools even imposed rules that they would only accept students who had attended aoshu courses at designated agencies, which charge about 3,000 yuan ($473) a year.

"Schools make money by conspiring with agencies," China Science Daily quoted Yang Dongping, head of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, as saying.

Li Yan, 35, mother of a 9-year-old girl in Shenyang, Liaoning province, said that although she knows her daughter might not like aoshu, she felt obliged to make her learn it.

"Every classmate of my daughter is attending the course, if I had not let her attend I am afraid I would regret it someday," Li said.

"I hope the Shenyang education authority publishes similar rules as soon as possible. But I also worry that they would not really work at all, because the training agencies always think up ways to slip through," she said.

Fei Liangjun, an aoshu teacher in Shenyang, said parents are being "too utilitarian" about mathematical learning.

"When parents send their children to aoshu classes, all they think about is using it as a tool to help the children enter a better middle school, so they push their children too hard to learn difficult math questions, which only make the children bored," Fei said.

"In fact, aoshu is just part of our math education that aims to help children expand their thinking, especially those who have a strong interests in math," Fei said.

Education Minister Yuan Guiren said at a news conference on Thursday that the only way to cool the aoshu market is to balance the development of education.

"Currently there are gaps existing among schools, so students and parents have a strong urge to choose their school, and aoshu is thus becoming one of the ways that leads to a better school. The fundamental reason for aoshu fever is the unbalanced development of schools," Yuan said.

In order to balance the development of schools, the ministry plans to standardize school facilities, rotate teachers and principals among different schools and use the Internet to air lectures of famous teachers.

From China Daily on 7th September 2012

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