Planet China

Roll Call

When some WiC readers cast their minds back to their student days, they may remember the odd early morning where they looked at the alarm clock and decided to give that early lecture a pass. In southwestern China a college has taken a new approach to ensuring its students don’t skip one particular lecture course. According to the final exam paper for the course – which is catchily titled ‘Ideological and Moral Cultivation and the Basis of Law’ – stunned students with a question that featured photos of the university’s lecturers and asked them to identify which one taught their course. In a novel scoring system the Sichuan Vocational College of Culture and Communication awarded no points for the right answer but deducted 41 points for the wrong one (and guaranteeing a failing grade).

News about the paper soon got online, as the college’s students moaned about their exam scores. Huaxi Metropolis Daily contacted a student surnamed Guo who claimed to have known the course’s teacher was Hu Teng, but recalled of the mid-January exam that many of his classmates were “excited and confused” by the question and wrote the wrong answer. Hu himself – who is head teacher in the ideological and political department of the university – has since said he set the question as a means to test the “attitude” of students.

The ‘ideology’ course itself is mandatory across China’s higher education system, even though most agree that lectures about the history of Marxist dialectic has little to do with most students’ core subjects – and explains why some have a less than enthusiastic attendance record. That said, it seems in the era of President Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’ and ‘great rejuvenation’ there will be zero tolerance for any students who try to shirk such ideological coursework…

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