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November 22, 2010

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Home » Metro » Education

'Math Olympiad' still a necessity

THOUGH students can no longer get a special pass to college through a "Math Olympiad," parents still seem to be keen on the advanced math competition to help them get into what they believe are superior secondary schools.

The Ministry of Education has put a stop to the widely-criticized bonus that gives "Math Olympiad" competition winners extra credits for college entrance exams.

Some parents welcomed the change, while others complained that the policy has not got to the core of the problem, seeing as the training is popular among primary and middle school students now.

"I hope that the education authorities can also stop the 'Math Olympiad' for admission to secondary schools," said Wei Chunlei, the mother of a 14-year-old boy.

Her son started the math courses, also dubbed "Math Acrobatics," six years ago when he was in Grade Two.

He had won several city-level prizes, which enabled him to enroll in a local top private middle school.

Now he is continuing the training at weekend in an attempt to gain a place in a local high school the same way.

However, the strain of the training is taking its toll and his mother believes her son is becoming exhausted.

"Because he had to win prizes to get extra points to gain admission to a good high school," Wei said.

Taking part in the "Math Olympiad" for mere interest and failing to get a prize in competitions won't help students get points for admission to secondary schools.

Huang Mingzhu, a math teacher at a middle school in Yangpu District, said: "Without entrance exams, many middle schools rely on various certificates to select excellent students."

She believed the math training can improve a person and said: "It is very hard to evaluate a student without the aid of the some objective?reference."

Because of the advantage the "Math Olympiad" prizes give to admissions, many average children are tackling the classes, which were once only taken by children who showed an exceptional aptitude for the subject.

Xiong Bingqi, an education expert and a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said the policy wouldn't lessen the attraction of the "Math Olympiad."

Educational standards now vary widely across schools and parents try to get their children into the best ones. Excellent schools need?an objective reference like the "Math Olympiad" to choose from the many applicants.

He suggested that the education authorities help schools with poor educational standards keep up with excellent ones to lower the attraction of?practices such as the "Math ?Olympiad."


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