June 7 was the first day of gaokao, China’s annual college entrance examinations. Over the years, millions of students across the country have faced this significant test, which potentially determines the path they will take in future. In Shanghai, approximately 50,000 attendants undertook the examinations. Nonetheless, this number is only half what it was 10 years ago.
Students headed to 99 test sites across the city to attend the exam on which their future depends. Image via Kankanews
According to The Paper, 113,800 students took the gaokao back in 2006. This figure has decreased over the years, hitting its lowest point of 46,500 in 2013. Then it increased to 52,000 in 2014 and has been consistently hovering around 50,000 for the last couple of years.
Data via shanghai.gov
One of the reasons for the decline is the low fertility rate in China. Ever since the one-child policy took effect in 1978, the number of newborns has dwindled from 131,200 in 1990 to 83,400 of 2003, as is reported by The Paper. The birth rate didn’t bounce back until the millennium. Thankfully, as the controversial policy was replaced by the two-child policy in 2015 and may even be lifted this year, the fertility issue might not be a concern in the future.
Another reason is the rise in the number of students opting for overseas education. According to statistics from Sohu, the record for the number of students who opt to study abroad is broken every year. Last year, the figure reached 608,400, with students from Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou topping the list.
Image via Pexels
The issue of decreasing gaokao attendants is not exclusive to Shanghai; it has become a nationwide problem. Every year, there are universities and colleges in China that receive zero applications due to the lack of gaokao attendants.
[Top Image via The Paper]