Original publication date: 2/26/13
“Several years ago, I moved from my hometown to Guangzhou with my daughter specifically so that she could get a better education. How could I have known that she wouldn’t be allowed to take the high school entrance exam?” Recently, Mr. Li told reporters that on the 18th of this month, he took his daughter to the Jiahe County Guangxin Middle School to register and pay tuition for the second half of her third year in middle school. At that time, he was unexpectedly asked to sign a “verification” that his daughter would voluntarily not take part in the high school entrance exam. If he didn’t sign, he wouldn’t be allowed to pay the tuition.
The school says that no students are forced to not take the exam, and that signing the verification form is simply a way of preventing future disputes. The Board of Education of Baiyun district responded, saying that it had already conducted an investigation, and that no cases students not being allowed to take the exam existed. But information from lead teachers and students contradicts the official testing policies, and the local board of education has already published a list of six suggestions according to which schools should make adjustments.
Parent: this is not the first time we required to sign
Reporters visited Jiahe County Guangxin Middle School in Baiyun district last Friday at 11 AM to see third-year student (#5 class) Xiao Li and her father, Mr. Li. According to Mr. Li, when he went to pay tuition on the 18th, he was first told by the finance office to find the lead teacher. The lead teacher gave Xiao Li the already-printed verification letter, on which was written, “With the agreement of the parent, this student will not participate in the high school entrance exam,” and “Requests the finance office to provide school enrollment.” The teacher required Mr. Li to sign the letter before paying tuition.
“I got mad instantly, because this isn’t the first time this has happened.” Last year before mid-term exams, Xiao Li was given a similar document for Mr. Li to sign.
Mr. Li said plainly that although Xiao Li’s grades were not good, he could not stand seeing his daughter being deprived of the chance to pass the high school entrance exam.
Students: only one class takes the high school entrance exam
Around noon, students started to come out of the school. Reporters conducted spot interviews with six students from the middle school third year class, who all said that the #1 class was the high school entrance exam class, and that none of the #2, 3, 4, and 5 classes were preparing for the test. One student named Xiao Xin said that starting in the third year, lead teachers have urged students with low grades to not take the exam. They had her sign and turn in voluntary non-participation forms twice. Xiao Xin said that she originally did what she could to not sign the forms, but the teachers told her that she couldn’t keep attending class if she didn’t sign the forms, so she had no choice but to sign them.
School: verification form prevents future disputes
Last Friday afternoon, reporters contacted Guangxin Middle School principle Mr. Lian Chao. He said that there were no cases of students being forced to sit out of the exam, and that no matter what class students were in, any student can take the exam if they would like to do so. Lian Chao said that students come from many different places to Guangxin Middle School, and that most are the children of migrant workers. Only in order to work out individuals intentions for registering and avoid cases of temporary registration of students for the exam through the school, do they ask students and parents to sign such verifications.
Lian Chao stressed to reporters that the third year classes are not divided into “exam classes” and “non-exam classes”, nor are they organized by student scores. It may be that the lead teacher of the #5 class had not properly communicated with the students that caused some students and parents to have this kind of misunderstanding.
Board of Education: School ordered to rectify the situation
The Baiyun District Board of Education told reporters that they understand Xiao Li will not take the exam in Guangzhou (because her hukou residence registration is in Henan), and will return to her hometown to take the exam and attend high school. In December of 2012, Teacher Bo, the lead teacher, told students orally that if they do not intend to take the high school entrance exam in Guangzhou, they can make an application for this purpose with the verification and signature of their parents. To help the students manage the process of verifying their intent to not take the exam, the teacher wrote the format for the verification letter on the blackboard. “Due to lack of proper communication between teachers and parents, there has been a serious violation exam enrollment policies, which has led to misunderstanding and negative reactions by parents.” The Baiyun District Board of Education has ordered the school to increase oversight, thoroughly examine and rectify the situation, and increase awareness of laws related to school administration.