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'Three Goods' students not necessarily good for all
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Selecting elementary and junior high school students who are good in study, attitude and health - known as the "three goods" - has been a practice in China for almost half a century.

However, Gu Mingyuan, chairman of the "Chinese Society of Education" remarked recently that the practice should be stopped because labeling students as either "good" and "bad", can hinder confidence and growth, the Guangzhou based "Nanfang Daily" reported on Monday.

The students are all young. Some of them may start to show their talents later than the so-called "Three Goods" students, Gu said. While schools and teachers pay great attention to outstanding students, they may well be overlooking those who have hidden potential.

It is not the first time Gu has expressed his concerns on this matter. The education expert first called on schools to stop choosing "Three Goods" students in 2004, stirring up heated debate about whether or not the tradition should be kept.

Some teachers agree with Gu, saying only a small number of students can be named "Three Goods" students, leaving many others out in the cold.

Some argue that the practice encourages the good students, who in turn become role models for others.

There are also those who see the actual selection process of the "Three Goods" students as defective. A commentary by the "Guangzhou Daily" says that while most schools will honor students according to their academic achievements they are overlooking other abilities, such as music, science or sports. So what's important is to create a system that encompasses a broad range of the student's abilities.

The practice of choosing students to represent the "Three Goods" can be traced back to the 1950s.

(CRI September 16, 2008)

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