X. Liu, I. Abbott

University of Warwick (UNITED KINGDOM)
My presentation will give an insight into a new college entrance examination policy in China.

National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), known colloquially in China as the ‘gaokao’, is a standardized educational testing system designed to select high school graduated for higher education. China’s Constitution promulgates that all citizens shall enjoy equal opportunity of education regardless of their nationality, race, sex, occupation, property or religious belief (Ministry of Education of P.R. China, 2013). However, various studies in the field of education in China have shown that the Chinese household registration system, which known as ‘hukou’ system has created a strong social stratification within Chinese society by its impacts on education, particularly on National College Entrance Examination. Firstly, all students are required to attend the college entrance exams where their original household is registered, regardless of their current residence and school location, resulting in great inconvenience for the migrant students (Cai, 2011:14). Secondly, admission score lines of each province are different. The admission score line of one province may be higher than others if it has a large number of students, leading to proportionately low admission rate (Wang and Chan, 2005: 238). That is to say, according to the policy that students must attend the NCEE at their hukou zones, the students who have a ‘low admission score line province’ hukou are much easier to enter institutions of higher education. Thirdly, the candidates with local hukou are preferred in the college recruitment while a certain quota is set to enroll a limited number of students with outer province (Davey, Lian and Higgins, 2007: 391). And the uneven distribution of the higher education resources makes the different rates of entering institutions of higher education in each province, resulting in inequity of access to higher education (Jiang, 2008: 84).

Thus, the new policy ‘Offsite College Entrance Examination’ came out by the end of 2012. It allows that students from migrant families attend the college entrance exams where their current residence and school location, but not where their original household is registered (Ministry of Education of P.R. China, 2013). This new policy can be seen as one important step in China’s college admission reform. It witness that China has stridden towards providing equity of access in higher education. It is believed that this new policy is the general trend of educational development in China and must be enforced. However, one can not deny that the process of its implementation may face many challenges. It is not only a reform in the field of education, but relates to employment, public services, social security and housing etc. It can be seen as a huge and complex social project, and should be with a number of appropriate supporting policies.