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The Story of PKU and Gaokao: to Be Continued

JUL . 25 2017
Peking University July 2: Since the national higher education entrance examination, also known as Goakao was reinstated in 1977, the story of PKU and Gaokao began.

Peking University

Gaokao Reinstated in 1977

1977 witnessed Deng Xiaoping’s  major higher education reform of bringing back the examination for admission to universities. The first national exam was held on November 28th, lasting for 28 days. “Class of 77”, as the first successful examinees across the country came to be known and from then on their fates took a different turn.

Zhunkaozheng of 1977 ( A Ticket for Sitting the Exam)

The Class of 1977 in PKU whose ages ranged from 18 to 31 marked itself a special one. According to 1977 alumnus Huang Ziping, “Among my classmates, the youngest one is only a teenage of eighteen while some have got married and raised their children.”

At that time, students in PKU shared a great passion for learning, “I still remember one of my roommates who always got up at 4 in the morning, sitting on her stool in the hallway and studying,” 1997 alumna Cen Xian recalled.

Sun Yushi, professor of Chinese Language and Literature in PKU, reminiscing in his book “In 1980, I ran a course China’s new poetry at Classroom Building No.1. Many students came to the first class while the classroom failed to accommodate them all. Impressed by their enthusiasm for learning, I let the worker there unlock the room next door for the rest, who rushed in in such a hurry that the window on the door were accidentally broken.” At that time, students and teachers enjoyed a very good relationship.

Timetable of a Junior Majoring in Chinese Language and Literature in 1980

In 1982, the Ministry of Education of PRC chose and sent the first students who just graduated abroad for further study. Xie Simin, a graduate of Law School at PKU, was one of them. She was sponsored to pursue the degree of Doctor of Private International Law in Japan. She also received the language training in Lalian before her leaving for Japan.

Gaokao Reform in 1980s and 1990s

With the time went by, more and more people were aware of the obvious shortcomings of the examination system. In the early 1980s, some attempts by individual provinces have made to reform the system. In 1992, the “3+2” system was adopted by the National Education Committee. In the late 1990s, the “3+X” system was set up by the Ministry of Education.

For those examinees admitted to Peking University in 1980s and 1990s, the days at PKU would last in memory. 1992 alumnus Yao Shaojun recalled: “when taking up the courses in the Department of Geophysics (School of Earth and Space Sciences now), I come to realize that I am not that into the major I chose. Luckily, I became a member of the trail class of fundamental science that year by section. (specifically, by taking the examination for students who study natural science). Apart from attending classes, I spent a lot of time in library, reading a wide range of books. Besides, I actively participated in all kinds of extracurricular activities, such as joining Shanying Hiking Club and Loving Heart Society. And I wrote news reports for PKU as well. 1n 1997, I graduated from the university and worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PRC. Thanks to the competitive Gaokao, I got a chance of getting into PKU, a top university that embraces freedom and diversity where I fully developed.”

Quite a lot students during this period grabbed the chances to develop their interests and became famous in their professional fields.

University Admission Test in 2003

On the 100th anniversary of Peking University (May 4th ,1998 ), Chinese president Jiang Zemin first announced “ building a number of world-class universities in China”. In 1999, project 985 was initiated with the approval of the Ministry of Education of PRC. Peking University, as one of the 39 universities sponsored by Project 985, was granted more rights on its admission examination. In 2003, the government carried out the policy on university admission test.

According to Qin Chunhua, a researcher of Graduate School of Education, “PKU, as a part of the pilot project, carried out the group discussion as a part of interview in independent recruitment of students test, firstly adopting the Hong Kong style.” In 2011, a notebook called what makes a good high school student is distributed by PKU to certain high schools to record students’ behaviors in their daily life, serving as a test for students’ overall quality.


PKU independent recruitment of students Test in 2012

Over ten year exploration, PKU ran its independent admission test in four specific ways, which are, test for students with special talents; test for students with both good grades and overall quality; test for students from villages and test for students from Zhejiang Province.

“The university’s independent recruitment of students test not only serves a useful supplement to the Gaokao system but also paves a way for PKU to select and enroll more talents for its future development,” Qin Chunhua said. According to a follow-up inquiry conducted by PKU and other universities, students who sat for independent recruitment of students test generally performed better than those admitted to PKU by Gaokao. “I still remember Xiaotian from Jiangsu province, admitted to PKU in 2011 with the recommendation of the high school headmaster. He always performed outstandingly and now has received the offer from one of the top 10 universities in America,” Qin recalled.
 
PKU Undergraduate Admission Introductory Press Conference in 2017

The implement of independent recruitment of students test embodies the emphasis for the humanism and quality education of higher education. In the spring of 2017, a letter was sent by the Office of Admission and Enrollment of PKU, trying to comfort those who failed the independent recruitment of students test. The letter begins: “We have to admit that we are still on our way towards perfection. You are fighting for your dreaming university and we are developing a more comprehensive and flexible system for talents assessment and admission.”

In September 2014, the government announced that the country would deepen the reform in Gaokao, which for example, would pay more attention to the assessment of students’ overall quality that Peking University has highly valued all these years.

With the educational reform going through, the story of PKU and Gaokao goes on.

Written by: Li Xiaotong
Edited by: Zhang Jiang
Source: PKU News (Chinese)
Link: http://news.pku.edu.cn/xwzh/2017-06/07/content_298170.htm