A class of 32 students were all admitted to US colleges and universities within the nation’s top 64 schools, with more than a few heading to Duke and Wellesley. These are the outstanding achievement of Wuhan Foreign Language School’s “Sino-American Class”. With the approval of the local Department of Education today, Wuhan’s #6 High School, #3 High School, Hantie High school, and four other high schools will open international classes and start recruitment of students. But why do parents want to send their children to these classes, and what kind of students are suitable for the classes? Is there any risk in enrolling in an international class? Reporters went to find out.
Recruiting 40 students, more than 300 showed up. That’s hot!
“We plan to recruit no more than 40 students per year, but more than 300 registered.” Principal of Wuhan Foreign Languages School Li Penglang said that in the past few years, the “abroad trend” has affected the school greatly, and he foresees an explosion in students registration for their “Sino-American Class”.
A parent named Mrs. Li, who lives on Xudong Street in Wuchang District, said that her son has a strong personality, has always had good English, and is quite interested in living and studying abroad. She feels he’s quite suitable for an international class.
According to reports, Wuhan city government will continue to expand high school international classes, with the current number already reaching twelve.
Famous International Schools. Go get them!
There are major differences in the curriculum of regular classes and the current model of the twelve high school international classes offered in Wuhan. The majority of international class students do not take part in the gaokao, with their aim as getting into famous schools abroad. “The first and second years are study of the regular high school curriculum, math, physics, chemistry, etc. Then in the third year they begin study at US universities, including study of American culture, completion of research reports, and so forth, as well as internships in American hospitals, communities, and elsewhere.”
Female student Xiao Sirui said she picked the Sino-American class because she hopes to study international high school contents as well as those of a Chinese school. “To sum it up, the basic Chinese education has its strengths, but in terms of expanding knowledge and cultivating overall abilities, it’s also not completely sufficient.” “These days, the attraction of famous foreign schools is greater and greater, and due to this, parents are also chasing after international classes at domestic high schools.” Xiao Sirui’s mother explained, “The child wants to go abroad, might as well start preparing a little earlier. The international class curriculum is like an international high school’s curriculum. She’ll have an easier time adapting if she has contact with foreign teaching methods beforehand.”
Reporters found that in addition to pedagogical differences, parents chose to enroll their students in international classes due to the high rate of success they have achieved.
Don’t mess up the entrance exam. It’s tough!
“Participating in class and doing volunteer work also gets you credit. US universities evaluate students in a very comprehensive way.” Yesterday, Wuhan Foreign Languages School Sino-US Class Lead Teacher Jia said that when the 32 students who were admitted to famous school first entered the Sino-US Class, their grades were mostly average to good, just like Xiao Sirui. “Now, they’ve all gotten into well-known US schools. They benefitted from the different assessment methods of those schools, which take into account cultural studies grades, as well as overall strengths.” “Although the students in the international class give up the gaokao, they still study very hard. They have the Chinese educational content in addition to the international classwork, and the pressure on the is no less than those students taking the gaokao.” Teacher Jia said that they also have to study in the morning and evening to complete the essays assigned by teachers, and spend long hours in the library doing research. “Although the matriculation record of the international class students isn’t bad at all right now, there are no guarantees that students in the international class will definitely get accepted by foreign schools.”
An individual connected to the Wuhan City Department of Education noted that high school is a key developmental period for children. These children are highly impressionable, and picking the traditional gaokao route or the international class is a very important decision. “Aside from considering your family economic situation, you should also think about your child’s language abilities and overall qualities, and whether or not they would do well abroad.”
Original publication date: 5/15/13