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Chinese Youth Want to Be Scientists or Teachers: Poll

What career will you choose when you grow up? For Chinese youngsters, a scientist or a teacher are their favorite choices, according to a recent survey initiated by the All-China Women's Federation.

Chinese young people used to be keen to become business people or film stars only a few years ago, occupations which would bring them wealth or fame or both.

The latest poll revealed that 28.12 percent of all the 3,500 young people surveyed, aged 6 to 18, expressed their keenness to become scientists in the future, with another 17 percent hoping to become teachers.

They said that Wu Wenjun, a Chinese mathematician, and Yuan Longping, "father of hybrid rice," have set good examples for them.

Each of the two scientists, who have made outstanding achievements in their respective fields, won a 5-million-yuan cheque in February this year as the country's top science and technology award for the year 2000.

The survey was conducted in Beijing and Shanghai municipalities, and five other provinces, including Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Sichuan.

The children's mothers, most of whom have got senior high school or higher educational backgrounds, also filled in questionnaires that were designed to uncover Chinese families' current attitude toward and new trends in children's education.

The mothers held the firm belief that to become wealthy through knowledge will correctly guide Chinese society into its next phase in the era of the new economy.

In recent years, the Chinese government has been calling for people to respect science and knowledge more highly, and encourages intellectuals to create values and make themselves rich through knowledge.

With these efforts, the social status and economic levels of Chinese scientists and teachers have seen obvious improvement.

The survey highlighted a big change in ordinary people's standards of value and their upgraded educational concept, which should be attributed to China's social advancement, said Guan Hongyu, director of the education management department of the Beijing Institute of Education.

Chinese parents are well known for their extreme concern for how well their children do at school. But according to the latest poll, about half of the mothers believed that a good child should depend on himself or herself, and constantly strive to pursue his or her dream. Some 33.57 percent of the surveyed youngsters also agreed with this opinion.

"China is transforming itself from a society that used to be solely concerned about school certificates to one that requires all-round abilities", Guan remarked.

It is far from enough to just have a good record at school, because that will not help young people to survive the furious competition in the market economy, he said.

(People's Daily 04/06/2001)

In This Series

Young Chinese Value Better Environment

Outlook Changes in the Younger Generation

Youngsters Still Cherish Marriage

Chinese Optimistic About the Future



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