Protests expose difficulties of reaching education fairness

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/5/16 0:42:55

Parents from Hubei and Jiangsu provinces have been protesting for days against a change over respectively contributing 40,000 and 38,000 local university admission slots for students from central and western regions of China. It soon became the hottest topic in China's public opinion field.

Reserving more opportunities for students from central and western China in the university entrance examination system, also known as the gaokao, meets the larger trend of boosting educational equity in the country. This is supposed to be politically correct. However, after witnessing thousands of slots for higher education assigned from local areas to students from outside the province, even though the government has promised and underscored that local candidates' interests will not be influenced, parents still showed strong resistance. Since gaining access to university is the biggest event for every single family in China, no parent is willing to compromise.

This is the reality. Fairness is necessary. However, in terms of major interests, robbing Peter to pay Paul has proven hard to realize in today's China. The gaokao quota system is highly sensitive and the incident this time has once again mirrored that there is little room for the government to adjust it. Rationalizing the quota system can only be reached by increasing admission slots, not reducing them.

With the growing number of China's middle class, Chinese citizens' consciousness of civil rights is also awakening. When the government makes decisions over the major issues of people's livelihoods, they should be prudent with the power in their hands, and ask for more advice from the public, rather than making top-down decisions.  When it comes to the adjustment of interests, the government should be more careful, and not take for granted that citizens ought to place the interests of the whole above that of the individual. The era in which interest adjustment can be driven by administrative order has long gone.

In the last couple of weeks, a series of sensational public events have been exposed in the Chinese public opinion field. Even in the Internet where the opinion field is under governance, a growing number of cases are being hyped up. It is hardly news that dissatisfaction will grow swiftly.

Officials from each part of the nation as well as each department should treat the criticism from the Internet with a more positive attitude, face supervision by public opinion and make more efforts to make up their deficiencies.

It won't be hard for the public to discern sincerity from officials. As long as they are ready to listen to criticism with an open mind, and keep communicating with the public, the irrational voices can be defused eventually.

Posted in:

blog comments powered by Disqus