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Beijing To Pupils: "Get A Hukou!"

By Liu Jinsong (刘金松)

Nation, page 09

Issue No. 534, Aug 29, 2011

Translated by Zhu Na

Original article: [Chinese]

 Students in China are not allowed to take the College Entrance Examination (gaokao,高考) in the city they reside unless they hold a local household registration (hukou,户口 ). Because of this many students have to transfer back to the place of their hukou is in order to take the gaokao.

In Beijing, more than 30,000 high school students have to leave the city in order to continue their study when the new semester starts since they don’t have a Beijing hukou. If they continue attending high school in Beijing, they have no way to take the gaokao and do not have a chance to further their education, no matter how excellent their studies.

Zhang Boxuan is one of those students. He moved to Beijing when he was three and attended kindergarten, elementary, and junior high school in Beijing, but has now gone back to his hometown of Siping in Jilin province of northeast China to go to senior high.

He took the high school entrance exam in Beijing and got a score good enough to enter competitive high schools there, but because of not having a Beijing hukou, he had to choose between going abroad and returning to his hometown to take the gaokao. If he stayed in Beijing, he would need to pay a very expensive “sponsorship fee” aside from the normal school fees.

We can’t afford to pay for him to go abroad, so we chose the gaokao, and it’s better to go back to where his hukou is, said Zhang’s father.

When he moved to Beijing in 1999, his parents considered the gaokao issue, but they though that, with ten years before his gaokao, the rules would loosen over time. However after more than a decade, the system remains unchanged.

On August 25, Beijing Volunteers for Fair Education submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Education asking for a solution to this issuefor the 14th time. However, there has still been no response.

During the "two sessions" (the meeting of China's top political institutions that take place in Beijing every March) this year, Education Minister Yuan Guiren said in an interview that they are working with Beijing and Shanghai to examine this issue, and eventually hope to permit the children of migrant workers to take the gaokao in the city where they reside, but there is no specific timetable.

An anonymous official from the Beijing Municipal Education Commission said that Beijing is not able to resolve this issue on its own, so the city is still waiting for a national policy. Any adjustments to the current procedures will meet with strong opposition from Beijingers, whose children would face more competition from the additional gaokao candidiates.

According to Beijing Municipal Education Commission, their main concern is about excessive migration into the city.

They are concerned that removing the restrictions could provoke a chain reaction, with a flood of people into the capital.

Reports claim that Hubei province proposed to solve their gaokao issue by “removing the hukou restriction, for pupils who spend three consecutive years of high school in Hubei,” but Hubei officials denied the existence of such a program.

In Shanghai this year, there are 10 types of students without Shanghai hukou that are allowed to take the gaokao in the city. For example, if one or both parents have a current or former Shanghai hukou they can take the gaokao there. These categories have increased in recent years, a year ago there were eight categories, while five years ago there were six.

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