Chaos in the classrooms – Economist

From the Economist:

THE students at Shengda Economics, Trade and Management College, in the quiet rural town of Longhu, in the central province of Henan, are among the most privileged in China. So why did they go on a rampage at the beginning of summer? In June thousands of them stormed through the grounds of their college, smashing windows and throwing stones at police cars. It was one of the biggest and most unruly protests on a university campus reported in China since the 1980s.

At first glance, the cause of the riot might look unremarkable. Shengda students have long been unhappy with the college’s strict regime. This includes compulsory physical exercise at 6.30am, a ban on alcohol and smoking, and confinement to campus at weekends except for those with written permission to venture out. What self-respecting student wouldn’t protest? But the trigger for the violence was in fact quite different. It was the college’s decision to add the word “Shengda” to its students’ graduation certificates. The fact that this apparently trivial change provoked a riot illustrates the parlous state of China’s education system”and the difficulties of reforming it. [Full text]

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