Reflection on Zhong Kao

Reflection on Zhong Kao

by Amanda Luk

The dates June 15 -17 is the “Zhong Kao” for Y9 students in Nengren School. During our time at the school, we were fortunate to experience their Exam Ceremony, which takes place before they set off for the exams.

You may know that Gao Kao means the entrance to the university exam. We knew that this was important for Chinese students as it determines whether they can go to university. However, not so many people know that they actually have their first life choice by “Zhong Kao”, which only allows less than 50% students to continue their education into Senior Middle school.

This is an important stage for a student to help set their life direction. If a student can continue his education in Senior Middle School, they will have the chance to take the “Gao Kao” after three years, then have the chance to go to a university, and their life career might be ‘bright.’ If a student can’t continue to study in Senior Middle School, they will have several choices: Start work; go to worker training school to be a worker; Secondary Specialized Schools to become a professional in specific areas.

Schools, parents and even the government try their best to support this Zhong Kao as it is so very important to a student. They start with a ceremony to encourage every student to do their best in the exam, then all students will board buses, and policemen will lead the buses to ensure students arrive at the Kaochang safely. There is one class per bus, accompanied by a form tutor. Parents all wait outside the school gate.

Lots of them wear red which indicates to Kaimen Hong. Mums wear Qipao, with the implied meaning that their children will win victory the moment they raise standards. A Nike red t-shirt is very popular as Nike’s symbol is a tick. During the second day they wear black, as the implied meaning is dark horse. On the third day they wear gray and yellow, with the implied meaning of splendid and magnificent.

Food served includes rice cake – called “gao” as implied meaning is “bubu gaosheng” (be promoted step by step), and rice dumpling – called “zhong” as the implied meaning is to be chosen by an ideal school.

That’s how Chinese people treasure “Knowledge changes the fate.”