More College Students Under Poverty, Employment Pressure

A psychological interference mechanism should be set up to free college students from mental problems particularly driven by a yawning financial disparity on campus and a slim job market, Chinese lawmakers said in Beijing during the parliamentary session.

"Neither students, nor schools are well prepared for the mental crisis prevailing on campus," which has forced three students to commit suicide in a university in South China's Guangdong Province, said Zheng Ya, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC) and an official with the Nanjing University of Science and Engineering based in the capital of east China's Jiangsu Province.

The gap between the haves and have-nots among students becomes increasingly prominent in recent years.

Those with affluent family backup are lavish and enjoy absolute psychological advantage. However, the needy students always feel themselves inferior although they are able to finish study with social and school subsidies.

Some 1 million impoverished students were registered in China, about 10 percent to 15 percent of the total number of college students, according to statistics from the Ministry of Education.

Rich students spend an average 1,000 yuan (US$125) in monthly consumption while the poor was registered with a minimum of 100 yuan (US$12.5) per month.

Finding a job has been another big challenge for college graduates in recent years.

College students who used to feel reassured of their future career are more and more frustrated by the hiking unemployment rate, according to Gu Xiaosong, an NPC deputy from another Jiangsu-based university.

Nearly 930,000 college students failed to sign working contracts in 2005 upon graduation, accounting for about 27.6 percent of the 3.38 million in total.

A record 4.13 million students nationwide are expected to graduate from universities this summer, an increase of 730,000 over last year and 1.15 million more than in 2001, according to the Ministry of Education.

About 27 million college students will graduate between 2006 and 2010, an annual increase of at least 700,000.

"Many universities are offering psychological consultation services, but more efforts should be made in preventing the occurrence of serious problems," Gu urged on the sidelines of the ongoing NPC annual session.

Job, economy and scores are among the top causes of psychological diseases among college students, which are followed by social communication and sentimental problems, according to a survey conducted by a Guangdong-based psychological consultative committee for universities.

Zhu Shanping, an NPC deputy and a foreign language teacher in Jiangsu, called on universities and social organizations to join hands to ensure mental health for students.

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2006)


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