The Chongqing Evening News is a commercial city newspaper affiliated to the Chongqing Daily Group. Today, the front page features the headline: “Middle school students hang out in fast food restaurants, copying each other’s homework.” The article explains how Chonqing students have taken to meeting up in fast food restaurants to do their homework, away from the watchful eyes of parents or teachers. According to Miss Liu, who reported the trend to the newspaper hotline, the fast food restaurants surrounding a certain middle school, including a McDonald’s, KFC and Dicos, are packed with students every weekend. They take up 2-3 seats while slowly sipping on a coke and copying their homework. This, she says, is not conducive to learning, and is also bad for business.
A reporter went to the McDonald’s Miss Liu complained about to followed up, and sure enough, found students hanging out, copying answers off each other and discussing how best to disguise their answers to make the plagiarism discrete.
The reporter then asked a group of parents what they think of the phenomenon. The parents said copying homework is a form of self-deception, and that the problem runs very deep: students routinely go online to Baidu to find answers. It seems students enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of fast food joints, where they can eat and work comfortably; the phenomenon of copying is unrelated to the environment.
Also on the front page is the headline: “The countdown has begun: 30 days until the College Entrance Examination.” The College Entrance Examination (gaokao 高考)is given once a year to students across Mainland China, and is the single deciding factor as to what university students will go to, as well as their major. If a student is sick that day, or freezes during the test, they have to wait a full year to take it again. It is highly competitive and extraordinarily stressful. The article discusses what studying strategies are best in these last thirty days leading up to the test.
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