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January 10, 2010

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Record high sit uni exams

CHINA'S three-day national post-graduate exams which started yesterday involve 1.4 million registered applicants, a record number since 2001 and a 13 percent increase over last year.

The candidates are competing for 465,000 positions which means around one in every three examinees could succeed.

At an exam venue in Beijing's Tsinghua University, a student surnamed Zhang who is to graduate this year said yesterday he would take the exam and hunt for a job at the same time.

"The job market was just too tough this year," he said.

A recent poll of college students due to graduate in 2010, the main force of postgraduate candidates, showed that around 9 percent planned to pursue further studies in China after graduation and 34 percent believed further studies would give them a brighter career future.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Education (MOE) show there will be more than 6.3 million students graduating from universities nationwide this year.

China is increasing enrollment of students pursuing postgraduate studies in "job-oriented disciplines" which focus on helping them acquire high-level skills for a certain profession.

It has developed "job-oriented disciplines" at a master's program level since 1991, currently offering 19 such disciplines, including law, social work and translation.

The number of Chinese applying to sit the exam soared from 1999 to 2007 with an average annual increase rate of 17 percent. The figure only slightly dropped in 2008, mainly attributed to a strong job market.

The MOE has announced stricter penalties for those caught cheating and they will be banned from sitting next year.

Experts believe the resurgence of interest in this year's exams reflects a sluggish job market.


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