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July 18, 2012

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University lets men in with lower test scores

MEN are being admitted with lower test scores than women for the first time this year in a few non-English majors by Shanghai International Studies University, which is known for language studies.

The college entrance exam test scores of men admitted by school are generally lower than that of women students, with the greatest gap being more than 50 points.

Under the new system, males can qualify with lower scores in majors including Arabic, Hebrew, Korean, Ukrainian and Russian.

Some say the rule is contrary to educational fairness and gender equality.

"Deciding the admission score by gender is obvious gender discrimination," said Li Weimin, a lawyer.

Women have complained they are facing discriminated, while some men said the lower admission score is humiliating and called on other men to reject the policy.

The university rejected the complaints and said the policy is to encourage more male applicants to meet societal needs.

"Many firms or organizations are in great need of male workers with a good command of foreign languages to work overseas," said Wang Binhua, an official with the university's admissions department.

In some Arabic-speaking countries, people are more accustomed to do business with men instead of women, the university said.

Firms employ only men

Many firms employ only male graduates majoring in languages spoken by a small number of people for their overseas positions, he said.

"But only a very small number of men are interested in learning foreign languages," he said.

Men account for less than 20 percent of the students at the university.

The imbalanced gender structure also causes trouble for women graduates in the job market while giving men an edge.

To change the situation, the university set up male quota in some majors involving languages spoken by a very small number of people. The policy won the approval of the Ministry of Education.

The university said the policy change affects only a very small number of people majoring in languages with few speakers and will not be introduced to other majors.


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