Graduates anxious amid delayed exams, job hunting due to COVID-19
Global Times


A student takes an online course at home in Yuncheng, North China's Shanxi Province during the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo: IC)

Chinese graduate students from high schools and colleges across the country are expressing anxiety as the COVID-19 outbreak is preventing them from returning to school to prepare for exams or looking for jobs as planned. 
China expands postgraduate enrollment and officially launches online recruitment services to help graduates.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced at a press conference on Friday that current discussions are taking place on the matter. 
The number of applicants for gaokao, or the Chinese national college entrance examinations, in 2020 will be more than 10 million, according to the MOE. 
The competitive gaokao is considered a life-changing exam for Chinese students, and usually sees senior high school fraught with great pressure.
"We started online classes on February 2. The efficiency for studying is lower than in the classroom. All senior students are facing this same difficulty," Liu Yang (pseudonym), senior student of a high school in East China's Zhejiang Province said the MOE postponed the 2020 spring semester nationwide for the control and prevention of COVID-19 outbreak.
Gaokao usually takes place in early June. Owing to the delay in school commencing due to the prevention and control of the epidemic, graduates are wondering if the examination will be postponed.
Guo Yumeng, a senior high school student who majored in fine arts, expressed her anxiety.
In February, Guo, from Northeast China's Liaoning Province, was scheduled to attend fine art examinations in 10 colleges all over China and return to high school to prepare for gaokao in March.
However, the MOE announced to postpone all exams across the country to prevent the COVID-19 on January 23. 
"Art exams were all postponed. Currently, I have to practice drawing and study online at the same time, which makes me distracted and exhausted," Guo said adding that "I wish the epidemic ends as soon as possible."
This year is the last chance that students in some provincial regions, including Central China's Hubei Province, and Northeast China's Liaoning Province, can choose to take exams from subjects of either arts or science. Next year, the gaokao policy will be significantly reformed.
The situation brought extra pressure for current senior students, because they do not have another gaokao opportunity next year.
Beijing senior high students will all attend delayed mock gaokao exams online at home on March 3, Beijing Daily reported in Tuesday.
Li Xiaorong, a senior high student in East China's Shandong Province, said she is wondering if her broadcasting interview will be changed to an online test or not.
"Reporters working on the frontline in the epicenter Wuhan inspired me and strengthened my determination to study media," Li said. 
In 2020, there is a total of 8.74 million college graduates, according to the MOE.
Zhong Sha, 22, has passed the postgraduate entrance exam and is preparing for a second interview at East China University of Political Science and Law.
"The interview has been postponed and I don't know if enrollment will be the same as previous years or not," Zhong said.
China is making efforts together to help graduates get through the epidemic.
Weng Tiehui, vice minister of MOE, said in a press conference on Friday that the expansion of postgraduate enrollment this year may increase by 189,000 compared to last year.
The MOE, in conjunction with major recruitment enterprises, officially launched a round-the-clock online recruitment service on Friday to provide online campus recruitment services for college graduates.