More blind students use braille for 2021 Gaokao than past years

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The National College Entrance Examinations in China or gaokao commenced officially on June 7. More than 10.78 million students this year throughout the country registered for the exam that determines their academic fate for the next few years.

Among the registered candidates, journalists from China Central Television learned 11 students from Zhejiang, Anhui, Henan, Guangdong, Tibet, and Ningxia are expected to use braille testing paper for the gaokao. This figure exceeds that of every other year since braille testing paper was introduced for the exam in 2014.

In Ningxia, one candidate from an underdeveloped county is completely blind. To accommodate this student’s needs, the Ningxia Disabled Persons’ Federation and the Association of the Blind aligned with the National Education Examinations Authority to transport braille testing paper, allocate individual testing rooms, and provide other relevant support.

According to National Education Examinations Authority staff, aside from the braille testing paper designed to accommodate blind candidates, the authority also printed large-character testing paper and arranged priority testing room entry for candidates with other visual disabilities.

While blind candidates face more difficulties than students without disabilities, they perform just as well academically. In 2015, Huang Ying, a blind candidate from Ningxia, received 530 points on the exam – 85 points higher than the line for first-tier universities for science candidates in Ningxia. Huang was admitted to the Wuhan University of Technology, a top-tier university in the country, and was exempted from the entrance exam when she began her graduate studies there in 2019.

“Despite the inequality in resource distribution across the country, many students with disabilities obtain the same educational level,” as other students through hard work and proper guidelines, commented Shen Chengqing, founder of Shaoshupaishuo, a platform dedicated to raising awareness and speaking up for the disabled in China.