China today

More students avoid national physics exam, causing worry

2017-09-12 10:46:00 (Beijing Time)         Chinadaily.com.cn

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More students are avoiding physics during the national university entrance exam, or gaokao, which could cause a decline in expertise, China's Science and Technology Daily reported.

Following new regulations on the gaokao in East China's Zhejiang province and Shanghai, students are required to take exams on three compulsory subjects - Chinese, mathematics and a foreign language. But they can choose three optional ones from politics, history, geography, physics, chemistry, biology and science in other tests.

Only about 80,000 of the total 291,300 test takers in Zhejiang took physics last year, Chinese media reported, while in Shanghai only 30 percent of candidates did the same.

"Compared with other subjects, physics is more difficult," said Sun Guobiao, a veteran physics teacher in Zhejiang's Keqiao Middle School, who added that in the gaokao scoring system, it is difficult to get high marks with fewer students taking the test.

"Physics can solve many questions in our dailylife and is of great benefit to improve our abilities of logic thinking, observing, modeling and calculating," Sun said.

Beijing is also trying to promote new gaokao regulations this year, so some students are thinking of giving up physics, according to Chinese media.

"If the situation continues, many excellent physics teachers will disappear in future, which will be a crushing blow to the subject," Sun said.

Hong Wen, vice president of the Yuanpei Academy of Educational Science, agreed, saying the nation will face a shortage of physics talent that will affect industrial development

Teachers and middle schools are trying to stimulate interest in physics by inviting experts to deliver speeches and give lessons to student face-to-face. Keqiao Middle School has invited well-known physics experts to outline new developments in sciences and technologies to students. The high school affiliated to Renmin University of China in Beijing also invited physics experts such as Fang Zhong from Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Physics to give lectures.

Other experts, including Hong and Sun, also suggest an adjustment to the gaokao examination and scoring system. The physics exam should not be avoided by students who will take it as their major at university, Hong said.