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Students, teachers brave uncertainties
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Head teacher He said a review of classes in preparation for the exam had always been scheduled in three steps, in which the last step - the final round of sample exams - should have been finished by this time.

"But now, my colleagues and I can only extend the third step indefinitely and let the students do more sample exams each day," she said, adding that teachers were finding it tough to come up with study timetables without a set date for the examinations.

The teacher also said that her colleagues have to deal with personal losses from the quake above and beyond their responsibility to students.

"It is only right that we give priority to the students. It is our duty," she said.

"But teachers here need help too. Sometimes we feel we are like a forgotten group of people," she said.

She said more concessions should be given to students in quake-hit areas, such as how they are graded and the level of difficulty of the exams they take.

By the end of May, the Education Ministry had already required all Chinese universities to modify their enrolment by increasing their places for Sichuan students by 2 percent.

Universities in other parts of the country have made similar measures.

The Harbin Institute of Technology announced that examinees from 40 quake-affected areas would get 10 bonus points to help them in their college admissions.

The China Agriculture University and the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics also said they would provide extra subsidies and scholarships for students admitted from the quake-hit areas.

But mental adjustment is the real solution for students and teachers in quake-hit areas, a Chinese pedagogic expert said.

Students must find ways to cope with stress and release whatever pent-up emotion they have from the disaster because it can be difficult to get an adequate number of psychologists to help them, Beijing Normal University's Professor Hong Chengwen said.

"Students can write diaries and even blogs to release their stress," Hong said, adding that keeping busy is a good way to ease the pressures they face.

He suggested that all graduating high school students set specific goals for themselves.

"They also need to believe in the integrity of the examination system and in themselves," he said.

(China Daily June 5, 2008)

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