Making the grade in China

Published 2:52 AM ET, Mon July 6, 2015
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Pressure in China's education system starts young. Although parents, teachers and lawmakers have questioned the wisdom of putting so much pressure on young children, there's little sign their study load has been reduced. STR/AFP/GettyImages
In Hong Kong, where formal pre-school education begins at the age of three, many prospective parents begin mapping out education plans before their children are born. PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images
China's often tough approach to bringing up children was made world-famous by Amy Chua, the Chinese-American professor who expressed her expectations of top grades and musical excellence in her book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images
Students in China commonly have to take extra-curricular classes or hire tutors after school. The ultimate goal is to do well in annual National College Entrance Exams -- or gaokao -- the only way to get into college. PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images
Almost 9.5 million high school students in China took the 2015 gaokao in early June. Failure potentially means no degree and poorer job prospects. In this picture, parents crowd a police car outside Maotanchang High School as students leave to sit the 2015 college entrance exam. CHINA OUTSTR/AFP/Getty Images
The stakes are so high some students have stooped to ingenious methods of cheating. A police officer displays a device used by students to cheat in previous years.
A Chinese student gets his belongings searched before he enters the room to take the tough college entrance exams or Gaokao, in east China's Anhui province on June 7, 2012. STR/AFP/GettyImages
A record high of 7.5 million students graduated from college this year. However, the job market doesn't look very promising. Nearly 8% of last year's college graduates remained unemployed within six months after graduation, according to state news agency Xinhua. China Photos/Getty Images
Yet the gaokao perhaps is not as important as it used to be, with more Chinese studying abroad. Some 460,000 Chinese studied abroad in 2014, according to China's Ministry of Education. The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia have seen a rapid growth of Chinese undergraduate population on university campuses in the last decade. STR/AFP/Getty Images