The spirit of struggle represented by gaokao is everlasting: Global Times editorial
Published: Jun 07, 2022 12:29 AM
Candidates in Guilin, Guangxi, on June 6, 2022, get ready for <em>gaokao</em>. Photo: IC

Candidates in Guilin, Guangxi, on June 6, 2022, get ready for gaokao. Photo: IC

The annual national college entrance exam, or gaokao, will be held on June 7-8. This is the time of the year when society cheers for the candidates, especially as the COVID-19 epidemic has not yet ended. People are full of hopes for the students who will take the exam, and are expressing support and encouragement for every candidate in various ways. 

The good news is that the current situation of epidemic prevention and control continues to improve, which creates conditions for organizing the gaokao, so that most regions in the country can hold the exams as scheduled. A record 11.93 million people will take the gaokao this year, with 330,000 general examination rooms set up across the country and 1.02 million invigilators and exam staff. Amid the strict implementation of the epidemic prevention and control policy, all regions are making utmost efforts to do a good job to ensure the gaokao. Although the situation of the epidemic remains complicated, it is the firm consensus of the country not to give up any candidate.  

This year's candidates are very special. On the internet, some people call them "the generation of online courses." They may have been affected by the epidemic many times during the three years of high school, and they have the common memories of taking nucleic acid tests, taking body temperatures, wearing masks and taking online classes. However, they are also ordinary students who are eager to realize their dreams through gaokao. The spirit of unceasing struggle remains. Many people think that this year's candidates went through tough times, while many of the candidates are optimistic that "different generations have different Long March journeys." If there is anything different about this year's candidates, it may be that special difficulties and challenges helped them grow in extraordinary ways . 

According to statistics, there are 1.15 million more applicants for this year's national college entrance exam than for last year's gaokao, an increase of 10.67 percent. Some people question whether this means that competition in gaokao has become more intense, and more difficult to get into college as the number hits a new high. In fact, the growth in the number of gaokao candidates is mainly because of the growing number of secondary vocational school candidates who will take the vocational college entrance exam and higher vocational school candidates who aim to be undergraduates, which also proves that the path to success for young people is getting wider. 

Although the number of applicants for gaokao has increased, its admission rate in recent years has been on the rise, and the admission growth rate has exceeded the increase rate in the number of applicants. This is a new background for today's gaokao.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the resumption of China's national college entrance exam system. From 1977 to today, each generation had undergone different experiences of gaokao and encountered different challenges. There are always some people who believe that it was "too difficult" at that time. In the 1980s and 1990s, the national college entrance exam was portrayed as "a large number of troops going across a single-log bridge at the same time." Today, with "a test set for life" becoming history, gaokao is in a sense a starting point, and the challenges encountered by candidates have become more diverse. What remains unchanged is that the exam is still regarded as the fairest and most effective selection approach, and is still the most mainstream opportunity for young people to change their fate.

In a sense, gaokao has been integrated with the spirit of the struggle of young people, reminding people of the early mornings and late nights, of sweats and tears, of growth and setbacks, of perseverance, self-discipline and hard work, of the spirit of "never say never." Equally valuable is that Chinese society is guarding this spirit of struggle from top to bottom. From the national level, fairness and justice are always the bottom line for ensuring gaokao. On the public opinion level, any unfairness related to the exam will be followed closely and supervised by public opinion. We have the mechanism to protect the spirit of the struggle from top-down, and the will to maintain this spirit from the bottom-up. This is the hope of the country and the nation.

In fact, no matter what era it is, what determines one's life will never be a single test, but whether a person can consistently maintain the spirit of struggle and whether that person can integrate his or her personal destiny into a larger historical narrative. The text on the exam paper will become increasingly blurred with the passage of time, but the experience and spirit of unremitting efforts will become the wealth of the candidates for a lifetime. The accumulation of struggles from generation to generation has become the common memory of our nation on the road to rejuvenation.

We sincerely wish the best for every candidate and salute the eternal spirit of struggle.