. China News .

China turns to all-boys classes as girls progress
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Feb 26, 2013

Nobel laureates urge China to release Liu Xiaobo
Taipei (AFP) Feb 27, 2013 - More than 140 Nobel laureates led by archbishop Desmond Tutu urged China on Wednesday to release Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, a rights activist jailed for subversion since 2009.

In a letter also signed by 400,000 people from more than 130 countries, the laureates called on China's president-in-waiting Xi Jinping to release Liu and his wife Liu Xia, who has not been charged but is being held under house arrest.

The petition was being submitted to Chinese embassies and diplomatic missions in Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Berlin and London.

"This flagrant violation of the basic right to due process and free expression must be publicly and forcefully confronted by the international community," archbishop Tutu, a fellow Peace laureate, said in the petition.

In Taiwan, Wu'er Kaixi, a former leader of the 1989 Tiananmen protests and one of those who signed the petition, urged Beijing-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou to relay the appeal to Xi.

"Hopefully, through the petition President Ma would do something that would help the Chinese government's release of Liu Xiaobo and his wife," he told AFP.

Another Tiananmen protest leader, Wang Dan, who like Wu'er Kaixi lives in exile in Taiwan, also signed the document.

In a previous statement commemorating the Tiananmen protests, Ma called on the Chinese government to release Liu as a step towards political reform while pressing for exchanges with the island.

"The first step in political reform is to tolerate dissidents and cherish their value and contribution to society," Ma said.

Liu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2010, was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 on subversion charges after co-authoring Charter 08, a bold petition calling for political reform in his Communist-ruled homeland.

Teenage boys in a Shanghai school are on the front line of teaching reform after the world's top-scoring education system introduced male-only classes over worries they are lagging girls.

Rows of white-shirted boys are put through their paces as they are called up individually to complete a chemical formula by teacher Shen Huimin, who hopes that a switch to male-only classes will help them overcome their reticence.

"We give boys a chance to change," she said.

The Shanghai school system topped the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development's (OECD) worldwide assessment tests of 15-year-olds in 2009, the most recent available, ahead of Korea, Finland, Hong Kong and Singapore.

But even so officials are concerned that some male students may be slower than their female counterparts in development and certain academic areas, such as language, and the shift towards single sex classes aims to boost boys' confidence.

A prominent Chinese educator, Sun Yunxiao, found the proportion of boys classed among the top scholars in the country's "gaokao" university entrance exams plunged from 66.2 percent to 39.7 percent between 1999 and 2008.

Across the developed world, girls do better than boys in secondary school, the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) found in a 2009 report on the educational performances of 15-year-olds.

"There are significant gender differences in educational outcomes," it said, adding that high school graduation rates across the OECD were 87 percent for girls but only 79 percent for boys.

In response, Shanghai's elite Number Eight High School is halfway through the initial year of an experiment, putting 60 boys into two classes of their own -- a quarter of its first-year students -- and teaching them with a special curriculum.

"This is a big breakthrough," said principal Lu Qisheng. "There's lots of hope -- hope that boys will grow up better.

"Boys when they are young do not spend enough time studying," he explained. "Boys' maturity, especially for language and showing self-control, lags behind girls."

-- "We lack confidence" --

China shut most same-sex schools after the Communist Party came to power in 1949, and the only all-boys junior high schools in the country are privately run.

Shanghai does have an all-girls state-run high school, the former McTyeire School for Girls, which marked its 120th anniversary last year and counts the three Soong sisters -- Qing-ling, Ai-ling and Mei-ling -- among its former pupils.

Between them they married two leaders and an industrialist. Qing-ling married Sun Yat-sen, the first President of the Republic of China, while Mei-ling wed Chiang Kai-shek, who would also later become president.

Student Li Zhongyang, 15, said he felt less shy about answering questions in his all-boys class, but drew hoots of laughter from his fellows by suggesting an absence of girls let them concentrate more on study.

"We lack confidence," he said. "The teachers like girls, who answer more questions in class. This programme lets us realise we are not worse than girls."

It is something of a contrast to males' traditionally dominant roles in Chinese culture, but principal Lu said the programme "doesn't have much relationship to equality in society".

The scheme was launched after China's government called for more "diversification" in educational choices within the state system.

A Peking University professor has called for an even bolder reform, suggesting in September that boys should start school one or two years later than girls.

"The Chinese education system needs to improve and allow various education methods," Wu Bihu said on his microblog.

Now Lu hopes to create China's first all-boys school one day.

"Ten or twenty years ago, there was no need for an all-boys class -- just put everyone together," he said.

In an increasingly aspirational society, he added, some families saw the new programme as having connotations of top overseas private schools, and so promising an advantage in the highly competitive gaokao.

"The parents know: England has Eton," he said.


Related Links
China News from SinoDaily.com

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


China ends Lunar New Year with molten metal showers
Nuanquan, China (AFP) Feb 24, 2013
Fireworks lit up the sky across China on Sunday and straw-hatted farmers in one village hurled molten metal into the air, as the country marked the end of Lunar New Year festivities. China's Lantern Festival traditionally signals the close of just over two weeks of rest and feasting during the Lunar New Year, the country's biggest holiday, which sees hundreds of millions return to their ance ... read more

China breached trade rules over EU scanner duties: WTO

Four Chinese drivers jailed over Singapore strike

China 2012 gold output up nearly 12%: report

Sharp to suspend tie-up talks with Hon Hai: report

Maize part of coastal Peru diet for 5,000 years

Why sourdough bread resists mold

Anthropologist studies cattle ranchers in Brazilian Amazon

Thirsty crops and hungry people: Symposium to examine realities of water security

Amnesty International accuses I. Coast army of abuses

Regional leaders sign peace deal for eastern DR Congo

Life expectancy surges in AIDS-hit SAfrican region

Guinea soldiers quit I.Coast village in border dispute

Estonia plugs electric cars as power prices soar

China's Geely to set up research centre in Sweden

Mobile apps reshape urban taxi landscape

Bridgestone reports soaring annual profit

Technical hitch closes Slovenian nuclear plant

Safety concerns cloud S. Korea nuclear drive

Taiwan mulls nuke plant referendum

Finland's Fennovoima may downsize reactor plans

Boeing, SecureTech Partner to Enhance UAE Cybersecurity

HTC settles US charges of security flaws on devices

China steps up defence on hacking allegations

China's PLA controls hackers: US IT security firm

Outside View: Obama sequestration strategy

NATO head warns against spending cuts

Japan PM won't 'tolerate' China island challenge

Japan coastguard says China ship in disputed waters

Rethinking wind power

Global wind energy capacity grows 19 percent in 2012

Finding the right space for offshore wind turbines

Spotting the invisible cracks in wind turbines

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement