International Class Trend Reaches Xinjiang

by elbbj on November 13, 2013

urumqiWith “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



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xinjiang nut cakeOn December 3rd, the official Weibo account of the Yueyang City Public Security Bureau posted about an incident in which a villager surname Ling got into an argument with a walnut snack vendor after a verbal miscommunication. The miscommunication led to a physical fight that then turned into a group brawl. The two were injured slightly in the incident, and 16,000 RMB worth of walnut snacks were lost. Total damages came to 20,000 RMB including the personal injuries and damage to a motorcycle.

According to the Jilin City evening news, yesterday at 10 AM, a 10 kg nut cake was placed on a table at Jilin Economics and Finance University with students immediately surrounding it. “Wow, nut cake…” People grabbed their cell phones and started snapping photos. A month before, the Jilin Economics and Finance Enactus Team decided to let everybody get familiar with a real nut cake, and found Xinjiang native Abu. Spending 700 RMB, Abu had another Xinjiang native make a big nut cake.


Nut Cake is a Precious Food in Xinjiang

When reporters arrived in the main hall of the academics building of Jilin Economics and Finance University yesterday at 9 AM, it was very cold. But great warmth came from the more than ten students who organized this activity, who were at once shuffling around for warmth and giving information to those passing by. Directly across from the main door was a table, and all over the edges of the table were disposable plates, with the middle occupied by the nut cake.

On the monitor to the left was a slide introducing various pieces of information about nut cake. Zhou Diyou, a sophomore participating in the activity said, “We want everyone to properly understand nut cake.”

Wang Xing, a Junior, was charged with leading the nut cake team. According to her explanation, when people started to say that nut cake is expensive and they can’t afford to eat it, her group went to the area around the train station where people sell nut cake to do some research. They found that although people are still selling nut cake, few passers by want to buy it, and the lives of those selling nut cake have been impacted severely.

“Some people have turned around and started selling other things,” said Gu Dake. A freshman from Xinjiang named Abo Duwarisi told reporters that nut cake is an expensive and highly sought after food in Xinjiang. “We make all ours at home,” said Abo Duwarisi, who also mentioned that it takes six hours to make a 10 kg cake. Abo’s mother can make nut cake, but doesn’t make them often because they require so much time and effort.

Abo wants to fix everyone’s misunderstandings about nut cake.

Many students surrounded the space without leaving. They wanted to see the fresh-made nut cake, which was due to arrive at 9 AM, but had not yet arrived. The Xinjiang-native student Abu spent 700 RMB on this cake, finding a fellow Xinjiang native from the train station to make it, and then transporting it to the school for everyone to eat for free.

Abu speaks reasonable Mandarin, which is why the group found him to help with their nut cake plan. “Everyone misunderstands nut cake, and I want to help them understand it.” said Abu, who made nut cake all last night.

When he brought the nut cake over, there was a great welcoming cry from the crowd. On top of the cake were tangerine slice candies, corn candies, raisins, and walnuts… many students took out their cell phones and started snapping photos. Students grabbed toothpicks and plucked out raisins to eat.


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