School places railings after suicide

By Chen Heying and Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2015-4-22 0:03:01

Students express mixed feelings about ‘gaokao factory’

New railings have been added to classroom buildings of Hengshui No.2 High School in Hebei Province on Tuesday, with motivational words printed on banners for students. Photo: CFP

A high school in Hengshui, Hebei Province recently erected railings in its classroom buildings after another student died by suicide in late March, triggering discussions as to whether the military management harms students.

A teacher surnamed Bao from the Hengshui No. 2 High School confirmed to the Global Times Tuesday that railings have been added to all classroom buildings in the school from floor to ceiling in an attempt to "protect students."

The response came after photos of the net-like railings in the school began to go viral on Tuesday, which many netizens described as a jail. The local education bureau said they are looking into the photos' authenticity, the Nandu Daily reported.

The school could not be reached as of press time, but many think the railings were added after a student jumped from a building and died on March 29. Police said they have been investigating the incident, local media reported.

The school saw another death by suicide last October.

Dubbed as a gaokao, or national college entrance examination factory, the school is known for its military management to discipline students in preparation for the gaokao.

In 2014, 73.8 percent of 5,000 students from the school were admitted into universities in the first batch, ranking first in the province. Seventeen students were enrolled by the nation's top two universities, Peking University and Tsinghua University, third best in the province, local media reported.

"The achievement is the result of rigid discipline and the suffocating learning environment where everyone did nothing but study," a student surnamed Chen who graduated from the school in 2010, told the Global Times, adding that many feel extremely pressured.

"School authorities determined our regimen throughout a day," Chen said, adding that they were required to get up at 5:30 am and go to bed at 10:10 pm with 12 classes in between.

"During nap time, we are only allowed to lie in bed and  forbidden to go to bathroom."

However, Bao said that those practices can make students more responsible and disciplined, which is helpful to studying. She added that the pressure imposed on students is the same in other schools.

Some students at the school echoed Bao's statements, saying that the school's management is effective and students perform better.

Hengshui High School, another school in the region, adopted the same military management and contributed 80 percent of students in the province to China's top two universities in 2013, according to the Southern Weekly.

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