HOME    NEWS    SPECIAL REPORT    PHOTO    COMMENTARY    VOICE
NEWS > Mainland
China's national university entrance exams begin amid concerns over student stress
2006-06-07 03:00:16 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SHANGHAI, June 7(AP) -- A 16-year-old girl's suicide after she was barred from a key exam underscores mounting worries over academic pressures, as millions of Chinese students began annual college entrance tests on Wednesday.

The three-day exam, viewed as crucial to future career and financial success, has a record 9.5 million high school students across China competing for just 2.6 million university places. For kids and parents alike, it's a nail-biting ordeal that experts say causes undue emotional distress.

"Pressure from study and exams is a top reason for psychological problems among Chinese youth," said Jin Wuguan, director of the Youth Psychological Counseling Center at Shanghai's Ruijin Hospital.

In China's increasingly success oriented, pressure-cooker cities, academic stress is seen as a rising cause of youth suicides and even murders of parents by children unhinged by overwhelming pressure to perform.

According to her family and newspaper accounts, 16-year-old Wu Wenwen drowned herself after she was stopped at the exam room door because her hair wasn't tied back as her school required.

Returning in barrettes, she was then told the end-of-term exam had already started and she was too late to take it. In tears, Wu called her mother, and then disappeared. Her body was found the same night in a nearby lake.

China doesn't keep comprehensive statistics on student suicides, but Jin said health care professionals see the problem worsening, even among elementary students.

Most Chinese schools still lack counselors and teachers receive little training in spotting symptoms of emotional distress, Jin said. Parents are little help, often piling on pressure while ignoring their children's emotional development, he said.

"It's a basic unwillingness or inability to recognize and deal with with emotional problems," Jin said.

Wang Yufeng, of Peking University's Institute of Mental, estimates the rate of emotional disorders such as depression and paranoia among Chinese students under age 17 at up to 32 percent _ a total of 30 million students.

Others say that figure may be as high as 50 percent. A survey last year by the government's China Youth and Children Research Center showed 57.6 percent of students felt highly distressed by academic pressures.

MORE NEWS
"SCO not eastern version of NATO": organization chief  
Exam cheater posing as returned overseas caught holding fake passport  
1st sex-change operation in Shenzhen produces a woman  
China calls for actions to help disadvantaged groups in labor world  
Cooperation between China, Uzbekistan fruitful, says senior CPC official  
China has nearly one serious coal mine accident per day in May  
Over 60 pct of land use in Chinese cities illegal: ministry  
Japanese, Chinese social groups protest Japanese court for unfair ruling on 1932 massacre  

SINA English is the English-language destination for news and information about China. Find general information on life, culture and travel in China through our news and special reportsúČor find business partners through our online Business Directory. For investment opportunities with SINA, please click the link "Investor" below.
| About SINA | Investor | Media Kit | Comments or Question? |
Copyright © 1996-2006 SINA Corporation, All Rights Reserved