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Student numbers down as 90s babies grow up

COLLEGES and universities in Shanghai will enroll fewer local students this year due to a decreasing number of applicants.

Shanghai Fudan University will admit about 1,000 local students, compared with 1,200 last year, school officials said yesterday.

Other universities, including Jiao Tong University and East China Normal University, also reported a decrease in the number of local applicants.

The colleges were eager to stress that the amount of spaces for local students remained the same as last year and it was not more difficult for local students to get into higher education this year.

The falling number of local applicants does however mean there is more room for out-of-town students in local schools, school officials said.

About 83,000 people in Shanghai applied to sit the college entrance examination this year, said the Shanghai Education Commission, a 20 percent decrease since last year.

The decreasing number of applicants is mainly caused by a low birth rate in the city in 1990 and 1991, Zhang said.

About 159,100 children were born in Shanghai in 1989, compared with 131,200 in 1990 and 100,800 in 1991, said the city's family planning authority.

The number of local college applicants started to fall last year with a drop of 6,000 on 2007's figure. The numbers are expected to keep on dropping until 2017, said the city's education authority.

The country witnessed a baby boom in the 1950s and 1960s because of a period of relative stability and improved medical facilities. Population policies in the 1970s curbed this boom.

The latest baby boom was in the 1980s as the former generation of baby boomers hit marriageable age and began to have children. Since 2006, the city has been in the throes of a new baby boom.

A kindergarten-building boom is under way in the city to cope with the increase, while many secondary schools are facing closure due to decreasing student numbers.


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