China’s Learning: a Potent Anniversary – Li Datong

From Open :

… There are exceptions to the rule. 2007 is also the thirtieth anniversary of the revival of the gaokao (university-entrance examination system) after it was abandoned during the cultural revolution. This received a lot of media coverage, although reports were careful not to mention the cultural revolution itself. It seems that the authorities did not see the topic as too subversive and saw no need to ban coverage. In fact, in the thirty years since the entrance exams were reintroduced, huge changes have taken place in successive generations of .

China’s universities closed with the start of the cultural revolution in 1966, and only started accepting new students again in 1972. But even then, entry was based on the recommendation of a factory, commune or the military. The only condition for recommendation was a good political record, and the aim was not for students to receive an , but, in the words of Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung), to “occupy the bourgeois camp”. University lecturers were in those days considered “bourgeois intellectuals” and had to be scrapingly respectful towards the students from factory, farm and military backgrounds. They didn’t dare to actually teach them anything. [Full Text]

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