“Fairness” and the gaokao: the invalid argument against reform


Almost all Chinese students agree: The Chinese education system isn’t conducive to enhancing students’ creative skills that are necessary to create dynamic economy. The reason is because the education system is too focused on memorization and test taking. The most important of those tests is the gaokao, the one and only factor determining where students will attend college. After years of memorizing answers to pass tests, students are not well prepared when they get a job with a multinational company and they have to think of a solution on their own rather than filling in a bubble.

But if you ask students, there is one big reason to resist reforms on the gaokao.

“China needs to reform its education system, but there is no way,” Yang said, a student in Dali, “because the population in China is too large.”

“Although there are a lot of bad things about the gaokao, it does ensure fairness,” a student named Zhao said. “There are so many people in China.”

With so many people, how will colleges know who are the best students deserving to attend Beijing University?