Senior high school students in Guizhou have returned to school to prepare for July’s gaokao. XINHUA
For over 40 years, gaokao has been a touchstone for students to get admitted to certain programs in Chinese universities. But gaokao doesn’t just affect individual students. As China.org put it, it can also “have a significant impact on national development”.
In a move to fix talent shortages in the high-end chip, software design, intelligent technology, new materials and advanced manufacturing, and social sciences, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced a new college enrollment plan – called the “strengthening basic disciplines plan” – that will start this year.
为解决高端芯片、软件设计、智能科技、新材料、先进制造和社会科学等关键领域的人才紧缺问题，教育部此前宣布了一项全新的高校招生计划 —— “强基计划”，并于今年起实施。
The pilot plan has been rolled out in the country’s top 36 universities. By May 13, all schools had released their distinctive enrollment plans, encouraging senior high students with special talents to sign up.
Before the end of May, students can apply to one of the 36 participating universities. Each applicant can choose one to four majors listed as their top preferred disciplines, reported Xinhua. Enrollment policies vary by university, with admission limits set from dozens of students to 200.
These universities also detailed their recruitment procedure.
After the results of gaokao are released, schools will release lists of qualifying students, who either excel in gaokao, or have won first or second prizes in Olympiads with gaokao scores at least higher than the first round of register lines. These applicants will then receive additional tests and interviews. The final enrollment decision is heavily based on the gaokao score, which will remain the most important criterion, accounting for more than 85 percent of the final result, says MOE.
The universities have announced that they will also consider physical tests as a reference for submission, according to China Youth Daily.
Once the students are enrolled, they are expecting an intensive educational program. For example, Tsinghua University has set up five schools, offering courses in chemical biology, information and computing science, theory and applied mechanics as their dominant disciplines. The university’s goal is to “put admitted students in small, independent classes with the best and [most] specific teaching resources and learning environments [for their discipline]”, according to Yu Xiaoxiao, the director of admission at Tsinghua University.
Compared to the previous independent university enrollment scheme, under which some students could either gain admission without taking gaokao or be awarded bonus points in the exam, “the new plan positively facilitates diverse, efficient and scientific progress in Chinese college admissions”, noted China.org.
“The next step is to establish an effective quality-monitoring and feedback mechanism to continuously improve enrollment and training,” Zhong Binglin, member of the National Education Advisory Committee told People’s Daily.