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Students inNanjing city, in east China’s Jiangsu province, will soon experience a fashionable way of study. They can leave heavy school bags at home, and take iPads into the classroom instead, as necessities such as books and papers will be replaced by the high-tech gadget.

On March 24, teachers at Jinling High School told senior high students who plan to study in the United States that all newly admitted senior three students will be required to use iPads in class once the new term begins in September. The policy, which has been discussed extensively online since the announcement, will possibly be extended to all the school’s students.

Xin Qihua, vice director of the international department of Jinling High School, said using iPads can set students free from the burden of school bags and it can also improve interaction between them and teachers, who can raise questions through the devices and review all answers from the students immediately.

Xin added that iPads can also give students access to many new foreign educational resources, which will contribute to their preparation for the SAT, TOFEL and AP exams, and it can help them spend up to 90 percent less on teaching materials.

The measure was hailed by many young people. Micro-blogger “secret cannot be told” posted on popular micro-blogging site Sina Weibo, “I am so jealous. I have an iPad too, but I am not even allowed to take it to the classroom.”

However, many people expressed doubt in the efficacy of the reform and some worried that it may have side effects on the students.

“Buzhiyubu” wrote, “Although it is worth trying, children who lack self-discipline may waste time in playing games.”

Meng Qun, a teacher involved in the program, said, “The teacher has technical control over all the iPads, and students will be prevented from installing any games.”

In an attempt to lighten the load on students in China’s primary and high schools, several local governments have recently been trying to expand the use of “electronic school bags,” a term which refers to mobile devices such as tablets and laptops.

However, Yin Fei, professor with Nanjing Normal University, said, “It is a fallacy to reduce students’ burdens by introducing electronic devices.The excessive burden on students’ shoulders is not from the weight of school bags, but the flawed educational system itself.”

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China’s State Council has approved a draft regulation on school bus safety management.

The draft regulation asks local governments to ensure that students attend nearby schools or boarding schools to reduce traffic risks. For rural areas that cannot ensure nearby schooling or convenient public transport to schools, measures should be taken to ensure students’ access to school buses.

The regulation specifies stricter requirements for the technical conditions of school buses and bus drivers’ qualifications. It also imposes limitations on school buses’ maximum speed and load.

Traffic priority is granted to school buses by the regulation, which also clarifies security staff should accompany students in school buses. The regulation will come into effect after further amendment by the State Council.

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Some college students, a few of whom are even not English majors, battled it out in a competition on Sunday. The competition held jointly by the Communication University of China and China Radio International tested the student’s ability to host an event in English. Now, let’s see how they did.

What does it take to be a good English-speaking host? These college students are confident they have the answer.

These students are contestants of the first English Hosting Competition held at CUC, or the Communication University of China, the cradle of the English speaking anchors and reporters. Some of the graduates are now active hosts and journalists working for CCTV’sEnglish channel,ChinaRadio International and Xinhua News Agency.

 The contestants are asked to watch a piece of video on news delivered in Chinese, after a minutes of preparation, they must give a thirty-second English summary on stage.

 Edwin Maher, the well known foreign anchor for CCTV’s English news channel was on the judge’s panel and gave high praise to the contestants.

 Quick thinking and speaking just like a native speaker is a must for a English hosting, but some may wonder how the contestants get such an fluency in a foreign language?

 Some one hundred students from 60 colleges across the country attended the competition, with twenty making it into the final round.

ESL jobs in China

Part1 Overseas Chinese Students

Nowadays, it is so easy for people from different countries to travel and study abroad! How to get there and how much money to bring is no longer a worry – what concerns most people these days is how to adapt to local culture and society. Culture shock is still not easily overcome. Today we will share their own stories!

Part2 Foreign students in China

Nowadays, it is so easy for people from different countries to travel and study abroad! What is it like for foreign students studying in China? So how do China looks like in their eyes? How much have they learn about China in Chinese culture? It is indisputable that Culture shock is still not easily overcomed. Today we are joined here live by three foreign students to talk about their exprience in China.

Teach in China as an Eglish teacher

Dozens of international students at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing had a chance to learn more about Lei Feng, a Chinese model of altruism, at an international culture event on Friday.

The group’s instruction first started with a video clip showing Lei Feng volunteering for several days to transport bricks that would be used in the construction of a school and then asking to not be given credit by name. It then watched a short pantomime performed by two Chinese students who portrayed various episodes in Lei Feng’s life.

Jaime Vega Pinol, from Barcelona, arrived at the university two weeks ago and came to the event on Friday with a friend, Sofia Laura Algar Berrondo.

Both are exchange students who will be in China for a semester, taking classes in business administration. They said they are eager to learn about the country’s culture and will begin taking Chinese classes on Monday.

“In his short life, Lei Feng helped many people,” Algar Berrondo said. “What he did was modest, but it was important for society.”

After watching the short video, Vega Pinol said he better understood Lei Feng’s life.

“It was interesting to see that China in Lei Feng’s day was like Spain in the 1960s – the atmosphere and the environment,” he said.

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Arecent audit at Dickinson State University in the United States will have made uncomfortable reading for parents in China.

Over the last four years, according to the audit, the college in North Dakota had issued diplomas to 400 foreign students despite their failure to complete the required coursework.

Roughly 95 percent of these students were Chinese.

It was just one of several controls “waived or intentionally overridden or ignored” by DSU, according to the audit, which has again cast a spotlight on the risks families face in paying out huge sums to have their children educated overseas.

Such investments often create what sociologists call “the new urban poor”.

“Parents are surrendering their last resources to wager them on a child’s future by sending them abroad,” said Lao Kaisheng, an education policy researcher at Capital Normal University. “If these children don’t get the decent jobs and the salary that is expected, their parents will naturally be sucked into poverty.”

Ministry of Education data show that more than 330,000 people nationwide went abroad for study in 2011, making China the largest supplier of students to Western schools.

The desire to send offspring to schools overseas has existed for decades, although today it is largely fueled by the belief that it gives youngsters an advantage in the tough domestic employment market.

However, not many Chinese families have enough saved in the bank to cover the tuition fees and accommodation and living expenses involved in overseas study potentially hundreds of thousands of yuan. Instead, many are choosing to take on massive debt at a critical time in their own life.

It is a gamble, experts say, and the stakes are high.

“People need to think over the input and potential output, as well as the risks that any investment brings,” said Zhang Jianbai, who runs a private school in Yunnan province and is a self-proclaimed “explorer” of new education models.

He said that parents in small cities across his southwestern province, many of whom earn just 2,000 yuan ($320) a month, often sell their apartments to fund their children’s study overseas.

“Those who are now suffering trouble (owning property is important in Chinese culture) or financial difficulties would not have been in this position had they chosen a more suitable way to educate their children,” he added.

Differences in quality

After graduating from the university in his native Guangdong province two years ago, Wang Jianhai was sent to Texas to get a master’s degree, which his family believed would give him an edge in the job market.

His father worked at an electronics factory in Zhuhai and earned more than 10,000 yuan a month, so the adventure was not a great financial burden. However, after his return, 26-year-old Wang was no better prepared to find work.

Even his English skills had not improved, he said, as “we stayed with other Asians most of the time”.

Eventually, his parents had to invest more money to help their only son eke out a meager living by running his own electronics store.

“He hasn’t earned a penny back for us, even though we’ve taken care of him for 26 years, while other people his age might have earned more than 200,000 yuan by now,” said his 66-year-old father, who did not want to be identified.

“We could have had a decent life after retirement with our savings, but now we’ve painted ourselves into a tight corner,” he added bitterly.

Wang said his father has had to quit his favorite hobbies swimming and rock climbing to save money. He added: “It’s not just the lack of money, the feeling we’re now poor makes me really ashamed when I’m with friends.”

Although parents see an overseas education as a shortcut to success, experts argue that very few truly understand the vast differences in quality that exist among colleges in developed nations.

“The quality of the schools is varied, from heaven to earth,” said Lao at Capital Normal University.

In the United States, for example, one of the most popular destinations for Chinese students, options stretch from world-renowned Ivy League universities, such as Harvard or Yale, to about 3,000 community colleges. There are also many diploma mills, which require very little or even no academic study.

Zhou Rong, a senior advisor at New Oriental Vision Overseas Consulting, said that although every student dreams of going to a prestigious college in the US, many fall victim to diploma mills.

She provides guidance to at least 300 students every year and said only one or two academic stars will make it into an Ivy League college, with rest enrolled in common or even “nameless institutes”.

“Regardless of where they end up, ultimately the value of a diploma (in this country) has been undermined due to the sheer amount of people who pursue one,” Zhang in Yunnan added. “It’s extremely silly for someone to pay such a high price for a diploma.”

Looking abroad

Despite the struggles being experienced by families and returned students nationwide, the demand for places at overseas colleges does not show any sign of abating.

All 35 final-year students in a class at No 1 Middle School affiliated to Central China Normal University in Wuhan, Hubei province, have decided not to take the national college entrance exam in June; each has instead been admitted to a higher education institute in the US.

Special classes for students applying to universities overseas have also become common at schools nationwide.

Zhou Haoyu is part of such a class at Shanghai Yan’an High School. He said he has 21 classmates, which means one in every 18 final-year students is looking to go abroad.

Education industry insiders say foreign colleges have become increasingly eager to profit from this trend among Chinese students, especially since the start of the financial crisis.

“At international education fairs, which attract colleges from across the globe, any lecture or symposium about how to enroll Chinese students is guaranteed to get a full house,” said Chen Danli, marketing manager at Aoji Enrollment Center of International Education, a consultancy service in Beijing.

Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociology professor at Renmin University of China, said everybody knows Chinese parents are willing to spend money on their children, but he warned that those looking to benefit today are largely “second- and third-rate colleges that don’t offer scholarships or subsidies”.

As with any investment, foregoing due diligence dramatically increases the risk of making a loss. That is why Yunnan principal Zhang Jianbai says it is essential for families to take a pragmatic approach, so as to prevent them from wasting money and ending up in debt.

Parents need to be reasonable, he said, as well as “clear about what they expect from the study period mental development or practical skills”.

Personalities must also be taken into account, experts say, as not every youngster will be suited to the challenges of overseas study, which involves extra stresses such as coming to terms with language, lifestyle and culture differences, and requires a lot of self-discipline.

Only by looking closely at the road ahead can parents avoid the pitfalls, Lao at Capital Normal University said.

“Using money that had been intended to improve the living conditions of people in later years to make blind investments in education will ultimately be wasted,” he warned.

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Children with heavy school bags are facing a higher risk of back pain, a latest study revealed.

A team of Spanish researches reported that the link was found in more than 1,400 school children aged between 12 and 17 in Northern Galicia, Spain, according to a report on the British journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The pupils were split into four groups based on the weight of their bags. Those in the group with the heaviest bags had a 50-percent higher risk of back pain, and a 42-percent higher risk of back pathology, compared with the group with the lightest bags.

A common back pathology in pupils is scoliosis, which is an abnormal curvature of the spine.

“The results obtained have strong implications,” co-author of the study, Professor Alberto Ruano, of the Unviersity of Santiago de Compostel in Spain said in the journal.

“We strongly encourage the medical and educational community to start advising parents and school children about the risk posed by heavy school bags and the fact that this risk can be easily reduced,” he added.

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