At first sight, you’d be forgiven to think this was a wrong move: doesn’t China end up better off if it encourages academic excellence? However, consider also the fact that many Chinese students simply end up swotting things just to get a good score. The swotting in itself is a huge amount of pressure for many a Chinese student. Therefore, the Educational Ministry has cut back on the number of extra points granted to nationwide university entrance exam candidates.
Previously, if you excelled in PE to the extent you won major international prizes, or were a top sportsperson, you got extra points, as was the case if you completed what can only be called the “academic Olympics”; very challenging extra exams not part of the national curriculum. If you were a creative type that managed to come up with an invention, you were previously also eligible for extra points on your exam, as was the case if you were an outstanding student in your province or were morally outstanding.
These extra points were previously awarded in the case a student really was outstanding from the very start. It has since then, alas, become something that was vied for by the majority of the students, to the extent many were forced to undergo lots of extra tests just to get an extra point or so in the extremely challenging university entrance exams. For students who, however, remain very sharp “naturally”, the new rules mean that admission to schools designed for these “super-sharp” students are now a possibility.
Extra points, however, still apply to children of martyrs, minorities, overseas Chinese who have returned to China, and students from Taiwan, as well as military personnel who have left the army on their own initiative.