So goes a sign at Second Middle School at Yongkang City, Zhejiang Province. The school has a tradition to display words of motivation to its students who are preparing for China’s National College Entrance Exam (the almighty Gao Kao), the test that pretty much determines one’s fate in China. And this year, months before the actual exam date in July, the school decided to motivate its students to study hard – good Gao Kao score is their only hope to compete with Second Generation Rich and still have an advantage.
To depend one’s future on a single exam is cruel. And it is not news that the educational system in China has had millions of students suffer throughout their teen years. But so far, Gao Kao is still the best tool a kid from an ordinary family can use to move up in the food chain.