Abundant assistance in place to ensure smooth gaokao
Among those taking this year's national college entrance exam, or gaokao, which began on Tuesday, some seemed to face more obstacles than others.
Those included students in locked-down areas or facing other COVID-related control and prevention measures, those encountering extreme weather, and students in areas that have recently been struck by earthquakes.
Despite these difficulties, they are receiving abundant assistance from people of all walks of life to help minimize the adverse influences on taking the exam, one of the most important events in their lifetime.
In Beijing, where some districts, such as Fengtai, Chaoyang and Haidian, are still battling local COVID-19 outbreaks, students in locked-down and controlled areas were transported to designated test centers on Monday.
The students will take the exam and live at the center－which is in a closed loop－until Friday.
The test centers, located in hotels or boarding schools, have been renovated to resemble exam rooms in schools, to ensure that the students can take the exam in a familiar environment. Even the blackboards, desks and chairs at these test centers have been brought from schools.
Sun Hao, who is in charge of a test center in Chaoyang district, said that apart from offering all kinds of daily necessities and stationery, even the lighting in the exam rooms at the center has been changed to help the students feel more comfortable in this different environment.
"We are using the same light bulbs as in the students' schools," said Sun, who is also vice-principal of the Chuiyangliu Branch of Beijing Huiwen Middle School.
"This will help students feel as if they are studying and taking exams in a school classroom, so that they can do their best during the exam," he noted.
Education Minister Huai Jinpeng, speaking during a gaokao-related inspection tour in Beijing on Tuesday, said that this year's exam is taking place in special circumstances, and education departments at all levels should try their best to organize it and prevent the epidemic from resurging during the exam.
"Thoughtful and warmhearted services should be provided to examinees, especially to those in need and having difficulties," he said.
In Ya'an, Sichuan province, which was hit by 6.1 and 4.5-magnitude earthquakes on June 1, about 420 examinees from the hard-hit Baoxing county were transported to nearby Tianquan county and took the exam as scheduled on Tuesday.
Examinees in areas hit by torrential rain and floods in Guangdong, Fujian and Jiangxi provinces, as well as the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, also took the exam as scheduled on Tuesday.
In addition, eight visually impaired students nationwide got test papers in braille, and more than 10,000 disabled examinees got different forms of assistance, according to the National Education Examinations Authority.
The number of students registering to take the exam this year hit a record of 11.93 million nationwide, 1.15 million more than last year.