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January 10, 2011

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Exam taker numbers falling

THE number of Shanghai high school students sitting the college entrance exam is estimated to drop in four years to less than half of its 1990s peak.

In 2015, around 58,000 students are expected to take the exam - the most important admissions test for higher education places in the city.

This compares with around 120,000 test takers at the peak during the 1990s.

Shanghai has seen a decline in college test takers over the past few years and this is expected to continue until 2016. The trend can be attributed to a fall in the number of babies born in the 1990s, the education authorities said yesterday.

Less than 70,000 people are expected to apply for this year's entrance exam, compared to 70,000-plus applicants last year.

The number of people who go on to sit the exam is also expected to decrease.

Around 66,000 people sat last year's college entrance exam, down from the 73,800 the previous year.

The 1990s saw a big fall in the number of babies born. While around 159,100 children were born in Shanghai in 1989, in 1991 the figure was 100,800, and by 1992 the number had fallen to 93,700.

The city's birth rate reached a trough of 61,700 in 1998, according to the Shanghai family planning authority.

Other regions in the country also saw a decline over the same period, as the number of high school students is falling nationwide, according to the Ministry of Education.

Moreover, many students now opt to go abroad for higher education.

Demand for overseas education is growing rapidly in China. Around 229,300 Chinese studied abroad in 2009, an increase of 27.5 percent over the previous year, according to the Ministry of Education.

However, the decrease in college entrance exam applicants doesn't mean it will be easier for locals to be admitted to Shanghai universities.

Higher education institutions are cutting local admissions to accommodate more students from the poorer western area, in accordance with the policy by the ministry.


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