Friday, 31. October 2014
05. 06. 14. - 16:00
A Chinese school has become a place of pilgrimage for anxious parents and children who come to pray before it in the belief that such devotion helps pupils pass a crucial university entrance exam.
The school has an outstanding academic record. But that has merely translated into superstition and hocus-pocus among locals who believe that the school, which also has a huge "tree of knowledge" that stands inside the grounds, has magical powers to make children excel in tests.
The school in Maotanchang town in East China's Anhui province. The school has earned a reputation as a "Gaokao Mill" for its success in preparing a large number of students to pass the national college entrance exam.
Gaokao is short for The National Higher Education Entrance Examination and a student’s score on this all-important standardised test is pretty much the only thing that matters when it comes to determining whether or not they can go to universities - and if they can, what institute they can attend.
Many of the students from Maotanchang get accepted into prestigious Chinese universities, including Beijing and Fudan, by doing well in the tests.
The tree inside the school has become much revered. "Many parents believe that praying to the tree will bring luck and high test scores to their children. On the first and fifteenth day of each month in the lunar calendar, the tree is surrounded by anxious people who have children or relatives preparing for the Gaokao exam," said teacher Yong Lu.
In 2013, the school had 10,000 senior students take the Gaokao. Since parents usually accompany their children from rural areas to the town when they prepare for the exam, the high school has created numerous job opportunities in the local area as families need places to eat and stay. The local government also has adopted a policy to "promote economic growth through further developing the high school".
People wave incense as they wait to pray for students' success in the college entrance exam around the tree.
Teacher Yong added; "I think it is all mumbo jumbo but who cares? I say it is down to our good teaching but whether it comes from a tree or swotting up, the fact is we are one of the best."
Halloween At The Zoo
Pumpkin pie might be the order of the day for people this Halloween but now zoo animals are also getting in on the act.
Baby Naked Mole Rats Born In Vienna
With their pink hairless bodies and fangs for front teeth, these baby naked mole rats were never going to win any cuteness contests at Schonbrunn Zoo in the Austrian capital Vienna.
Jihad Girls Gunpoint Retraction Of Desire To Go Home
Austrian anti-terrorism police believe that an interview given to a French magazine allegedly with one of the two teenage girls who fled to Syria to join in the jihad was probably carried out at gunpoint.
Get Shorty As Confused Bald Ibis Gets Lost Again
A rare bald Ibis that seems to have a different sense of direction to her fellow birds has once again had to be rescued after getting stuck trying to find a different route to the southern Italian feeding ground.
Alpine Trains Venture Into Space As The Final Frontier
Austria’s national railway line the OeBB has raised eyebrows after offering themed toilets including one that is supposed to "look and smell like outer space".
MEP caught In Brit papers Fraud Probe Jailed
A corrupt MEP caught by a British newspaper offering to propose amendments to EU laws in exchange for 100,000 euros a year has been given a three-year-jail term.
Vienna Jihad Girls Want To Come Home
The two Austrian teenage girls who became ‘poster girls’ for the jihad in Syria are now desperate to come home after getting completely disillusioned with their new lifestyles.
There was a festival atmosphere as Bundespresident Heinz Fischer opened Vienna's new Hauptbahnhof Friday morning.
Apple Truck Causes Traffic Jam
When 24 tonnes of apples are catapulted across a road it can only mean a jam.
Farmer Cleared Over Wolf Shooting
Furious animal rights campaigners have accused an Austrian farmer of lying after he shot dead a wolf that he claimed he thought was a fox.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Jihad Girls Gunpoint Retraction Of Desire To Go Home|
|4.3 Million GBP For Sterilised Roma Women|
|Baby Naked Mole Rats Born In Vienna|
|Crash Baby Born To Dead Mum Adopted By Uncle And Grandma|
|Pocketless Suit Fights Corruption|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.