With “international classes” in public schools, high school students can apply to Harvard, Cambridge, and other top international universities directly upon graduation. In September of this year, Urumqi City #12 High School opened its first international class, putting its first set of high school students on the international track. There are 40 lucky students in this first class.
Yesterday, reporters visited the #1 section of the international class at Urumqi City #12 High School, where the teacher was teaching class in fluent English. This isn’t English class, it’s an “A-level curriculum” math class. In this class, aside from the national high school subject assessments that are taught in Chinese, all other coursework is in English. Both sections are taught in rarely seen small-size classes, with just 20 students per class.
Zhao Mingxuan is a particularly active boy in this section. He uses English to respond to the teacher, sometimes questioning the teacher as to why a certain method is used to solve a problem. The classroom environment is lively too. The teacher sometimes sits among the students, giving them a topic and exploring it with them. The students often respond with all sorts of answers.
Reporters were told that the teachers for the international classes are recruited from all over the world. These teachers must have strong English, with many years of study abroad experience. Principal Zhang Jucheng said that more than just transferring knowledge to students, they also teach an international way of learning, so the classroom management methods are totally different from those used in other Chinese classrooms.
One student in international class #1 named Liu-An Decheng said, “Before when we were late to class, we’d have to shout out, “Reporting!” when we arrived, and the teacher would stop the whole class to look at the student who just arrived, sometimes even criticizing him publicly. The international classes aren’t like that. If we’re late, we just come in quietly from the back door and sit down, we don’t want to disturb the studies of the other students.” Liu-An Decheng said that this kind of western educational concept lets him learn more self control.
Students in the international class have much greater of an academic burden than students in other classes. They study the high school curriculum, academic English, “A-level curriculum” and extracurricular practical classes. The “A-level curriculum” includes 7 courses including calculus, economics, computers, and others. Upon graduation, they can use their grades from these courses to apply to international universities.
According to reports, the “A-level curriculum” is called the “international college entrance exam” by international educators. With their grades from various subjects, students can apply to schools in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere in the first semester of their third [and final] year, and do not have to attend preparatory courses in foreign countries or attend language schools. According to Zhang Jucheng, students who receive four A’s in their “A-level curriculum” can directly apply to Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge, and other famous international schools.
Zhang Jucheng explained that students will have completed the IELTS test by their third year of high school. When they graduate, they receive the Chinese national high school diploma, and at the same time receive an international “A-level” certificate. Students no longer have to make their focus testing and preparing for tests, and to a certain degree, this method breaks down the separation between public high school classes and international education.
Original publication date: 11/4/2013