Thousands of children of migrant workers for the first time were allowed to sit the gaokao, or the national college entrance examinations, on Friday in the region where their parents work, instead of being sent back to where their hukou, or household registration, is recorded.
The Beijing News reported on Friday that data collected from 10 provincial regions where students are allowed to sit the examinations, if they satisfy certain conditions, showed that only 4,500 of such examinees sat the test, a figure well below forecasts.
The number only accounts for 0.5 percent of the whole 9.12 million examinees this year.
In Jiangsu Province, where the conditions are relatively loose, 347 children of migrant workers registered for the examinations, making up 0.08 percent of the province's 451,000 candidates.
The figure is much lower than the 5,000 that the local education authority assumed earlier.
Previous media reports said that the policy would help level the playing field for some 20 million migrant children across the country to enjoy the right to choose the location of the exams.
Zheng Ruoling, an education expert from Xiamen University, told the Global Times that fierce competition in those regions is one reason resulting in such a low registration figure. "As bars to enter universities and exam contents vary from region to region, some of those places, such as Jiangsu, might not be a favorable choice for those students," Zheng said.
As each university assigns an admission score weighted to all students from a particular region, gaokao-takers may find that if they go home to take the exams, the final test score needed for the university they wish to attend may be lower.
Du Guowang, a native of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region who is working in Beijing, told the Global Times that many students had to return to their hometown for the exams because the new policies were issued too late and they were afraid of missing the deadline for registration.
"My son returned to Inner Mongolia for this year's exam. Moreover, major cities, like Beijing, which have rich education resources, lower entrance scores and large numbers of migrant workers, are still refusing to give equal opportunities to non-local students, " Du said.
Beijing only let the door half-open to non-local students, as its policy announced late last year stipulated the capital would allow children of migrant workers to take the entrance examinations for vocational schools, instead of colleges, in 2013 and 2014.
Du added that the number of such examinees will not increase rapidly, if major cities like Beijing don't step forward to allow more students to sit the exams, making them eligible for universities.
Zheng echoed Du's opinion, adding that the policy in major cities is very unlikely to be loosened as it needs the reform of the hukou system.
source : english.sina.com