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IV Drips Sustain Students Studying for College Entrance Examination

The Xiaogan No.1 High School in China’s Hubei Province allegedly hooked students up to intravenous drips filled with amino acids to sustain them while studying for the country’s notoriously difficult national college entrance exams:

A photo was originally posted by a student on Sina Weibo on May 4, 2012:

http://ww4.sinaimg.cn/bmiddle/72695a6fgw1dsn9yvfm0pj.jpg

Selected comments from SinaWeibo:

www2385088: Chinese education is a tragedy.

Iza: They’ve gone overboard. If those amino acid IV drips really enhance the performance of the students, it’s unfair to other high school students who don’t use such supplements. It’s like allowing some athletes to join the Olympic games after steroid administration. Plus it carries risks: infection, inflammation of the blood vessel or even IV infiltration or even allergies. Sure they are smart students, but real intelligent students don’t need an IV drip.

Godfrey: OK, hooking yourself up to an IV to study is WAY too much. Mental fatigue cannot be bypassed in this manner, and even if it does help in any way, this is hardly a measure of one’s own mental capacities. On the other hand, I DO think this is better than so many of the people I went to high-school with. THOSE idiots were hooking themselves to things a LOT more harmful than an IV, and they were doing it for recreational purposes.

路人羽: I finally know why I couldn’t get into the college. I forgot to put myself on a drip.

蓝草hhh: I have to say, schoolchildren are so pathetic! Pathetic Chinese education!

jiaolong81: Use high school education to defeat children’s flesh, and use university education to defeat children’s soul—this is so-called Chinese education.

wtr555: This is the educational system with Chinese characteristics.

Jeremiah T: Being good at taking exams doesn’t make you smart. Spending twelve hours a day studying the same things over and over again doesn’t prepare you for the real world. If it did, you would see China inventing its own products and producing Nobel Prize winners. Instead they churn out lots of people who are good at simple accounting jobs and factory jobs—careers that require no free thinking, no innovation, and no creativity. That’s why students and their parents flock to the international schools and pay top dollar for foreign teachers and tutors.

伙爷: Studying is harmful to the health.

Feng Sun: This is an extreme case even in China; however it reflects a sad reality. While wealthy families can send their kids overseas, a normal Chinese family doesn’t have many choices. Most of the people in China feel the educational system is totally broken. Chinese schools emphasize paper tests too much.

Stme: Learning and innovation should come in more natural way. It is a lifetime process. It should not be just decided by one exam. College education is important. Yet, the best students may not be just those who do well on one exam. I wish universities in China would embark on reforms to promote better education standards for China’s 1.4 billion citizens.

Turdis: This is not surprising at all. In China, if you don’t have rich/connected family, then you don’t have the fall-back of being able to study abroad in a relatively cushy Western institution desperate for Chinese tuition.

This exam will decide whether you go to a 1st-, 2nd-, or 3rd-tier university, which in turn will often decide what sort of job you’ll be able to get upon graduation. The link between the two is huge. Those going to the Beidas [Peking Universities] of this world will almost always get better jobs than those getting into provincial colleges, and thus subsequently will have more comfortable lives and better opportunities.

There is so much competition in taking the Gaokao [college entrance exam], anything you can do to get an advantage, however small that may be, is going to be tried. The pressure on these kids is immense … I count my lucky stars I didn’t have to go through this system. The Western systems, for all their failings, are more egalitarian.

走十七: If I have children, I would like to teach them myself or send them abroad.

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Jianan He graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a Master’s degree in Development Management. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Politics and...