Index > COVID-2019
Thursday, January 30, 2020
China's National College Entrance Examination to be postponed by Wuhan pneumonia
He Jun

The "Wuhan pneumonia" epidemic broke out earlier this year has had a huge impact on China's economy and society. The Chinese Ministry of Education and its local education departments have recently issued urgent notices requesting that the reopening of schools to be postponed. An important question that follows is, will China's National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), or more commonly known in the country as "gao kao" be affected? How would China protect the interests of the NCEE candidates?

The NCEE is the most important examination in China, and it affects the fate of millions of students, considered by Chinese parents to be a determining factor for the future of their children. It is estimated that the number of NCEE candidates in 2020 may be around 10 million. In other words, the impact of this year's pneumonia epidemic may have a significant impact on tens of millions of students and families.

When China suffered the SARS epidemic in 2003, the NCEE was not postponed. Instead, it was held one month in advance in early June. However, research shows that more than 30% of the candidates considered the NCEE a success, while 40% of the candidates considered it unsuccessful. Therefore, even with the new virus pneumonia in Wuhan this year, it is difficult for the Ministry of Education to make a decision to postpone the college entrance examination.

However, many special circumstances occur this year. Firstly, compared with the 2003 SARS outbreak which was mostly concentrated in Guangdong and Beijing, this year's pneumonia epidemic encompasses larger areas and may last longer. The impacted and affected areas are more widespread in all regions of China except Tibet. Secondly, the NCEE is a huge investment for many Chinese families. The pneumonia epidemic will disrupt the existing education arrangements of schools and students, in their normal and extra-curricular tutoring. This will direct impact the learning and the examination result of the students. Thirdly, the spread and persistence of the pneumonia epidemic will have an impact on the psychology of the NCEE candidates and families. Recently, there has been a case in Beijing where the father of a high school student died of pneumonia, yet before his death the man attended school parent meeting. This has had a significant psychological impact on school teachers, students and parents. Fourthly, and most significantly, Wuhan is in a state of lockdown. Other Chinese provinces, cities, counties, and villages outside of Wuhan too are also self-imposing lockdown. The road traffic of these areas is cut off, and their access is affected; these do not create the required conditions for NCEE.

In summary, if the new coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan persists, the possibility of China's announcement of postponing the NCEE will be greatly increased, and the time left for the Ministry of Education to deal with this matter is running out, as it is necessary for the ministry to announce and determine the time in advance.


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