Test tak­ers surge

Record 2 mil­lion sit for post­grad­u­ate exam

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO XINYING zhaoxiny­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn Li Hongyang con­trib­uted to this story.

A record-break­ing 2 mil­lion peo­ple reg­is­tered to take the na­tional en­trance ex­am­i­na­tion for post­grad­u­ates, which were held over the week­end.

The fig­ure, re­leased on Satur­day by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion on its mi­cro blog, rep­re­sented a 14 per­cent in­crease over last year, when 1.77 mil­lion peo­ple ap­plied to take the two-day exam.

Xiong Bingqi, deputy di­rec­tor of the 21st Cen­tury Ed­u­ca­tion Re­search In­sti­tute, an ed­u­ca­tion think tank, said the surge was partly due to a newly im­ple­mented pol­icy re­quir­ing peo­ple who ap­ply for part-time post­grad­u­ate pro­grams to take the exam.

The num­ber of peo­ple who ap­plied for part-time pro­grams was not re­leased. Pre­vi­ously, such ap­pli­cants only had to sub­mit re­quired doc­u­ments and pass in­ter­views or­ga­nized by uni­ver­si­ties.

Xiong said China’s eco­nomic and em­ploy­ment en­vi­ron­ment is a ma­jor rea­son for the surge in the num­ber of peo­ple reg­is­ter­ing to take the exam.

Statis­tics from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and the Min­istry of Hu­man Re­sources and So­cial Se­cu­rity showed that the num­ber of col­lege grad­u­ates in 2017 is ex­pected to reach nearly 8 mil­lion, which would be a record high. The ever-grow­ing num­ber of grad­u­ates has made it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for stu­dents to land jobs.

“Un­der such cir­cum­stances, tak­ing the exam and then pur­su­ing fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion would be a good op­tion,” Xiong said.

An on­line sur­vey con­ducted by eol.cn, a Chi­nese ed­u­ca­tion por­tal, found that 35 per­cent of re­spon­dents chose to take the exam to add to their com­pet­i­tive­ness in the job mar­ket, be­cause stu­dents hold­ing only a bach­e­lor’s de­gree will not stand out when ap­ply­ing for jobs.

In ad­di­tion, 31 per­cent of re­spon­dents said that they wanted to take the exam and

Tak­ing the exam and then pur­su­ing fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion would be a good op­tion.” Xiong Bingqi, deputy di­rec­tor of the 21st Cen­tury Ed­u­ca­tion Re­search In­sti­tute

pur­sue a higher-level de­gree to “im­prove their aca­demic re­search abil­ity”.

Li Sheng­wei, a se­nior stu­dent of in­ter­na­tional law at Cen­tral Uni­ver­sity of Fi­nance and Eco­nom­ics, took the exam in Beijing over the week­end. The 22-yearold said he hoped to pass the exam and be ad­mit­ted to Ts­inghua Uni­ver­sity, be­cause at­tend­ing one of China’s top uni­ver­si­ties “would of­fer a bet­ter plat­form, both in terms of aca­demic and em­ploy­ment prospects”.

As a thresh­old for peo­ple who want to pur­sue post­grad­u­ate stud­ies in China, the exam has re­ceived more than 1.5 mil­lion ap­pli­cants since 2011.

Al­though the num­ber of ap­pli­cants fell for two con­sec­u­tive years in 2014 and 2015, it surged last year. The num­ber of peo­ple pass­ing the exam and be­ing ad­mit­ted to a mas­ter’s pro­gram has re­mained at about 500,000 an­nu­ally in re­cent years.

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