Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 19

Examiners get tough on students who cheat

Experts say test takers should stop memorizing answers and polish their language skills instead

A file photo shows a student preparing for the IELTS exam. [Photo/IC]

By Zhao Xinying

Some students who took the International English Language Testing System exam in August and September have had their results "withheld permanently", sending a strong signal that the examiners intend to stamp out cheating, some senior language tutors said.

Yang Yuting, chief language training tutor at Amber Education, an overseas studies consulting agency, said there have been a few cases in which candidates' IELTS results were canceled in recent years, leaving the students with no qualification.

But this is the first time he has heard that results, including those of some of his students, were "withheld permanently", meaning IELTS will not give the students their results, nor will they give them to others.

"This may reflect the IELTS authorities' resolution to stamp out rule-breaching actions like memorizing questions and reciting essays," Yang said.

Wang Xin, a senior student at the Communication University of China in Beijing, took an IELTS test on Aug 1 and the results were due within 10 working days. But she was then notified that her results were undergoing routine checks.

Full story at China Daily (October 2015)

Primary schools face huge demand in Shenzhen

A first-grader hugs her mother on her first day at primary school in Chengdu, Sichuan province, on Tuesday. For Chinese parents, enrolling their children in a good public primary school is becoming increasingly difficult. HE HAIYANG/CHINA DAILY

Parents are finding it increasingly difficult to enroll their children in a public primary school in Shenzhen, especially a good one, as the number of children about to enter school greatly exceeds the number of available spots.

In Longgang district, the gap in public primary school spots has widened more than 40 percent this year, surging from 7,694 places too few last year to roughly 11,000, according to the Longgang District Education Bureau.

In Futian district, the number of primary-school-age children has reached 14,500 this year, but there's only room for some 10,000, representing a shortage of 4,500 spots and nearly 30 percent growth from 3,500 in 2014.

Getting into a good school is even harder.

Hu Yanhua, whose daughter will be 6 next year, has already begun to prepare for enrollment. The family rents a 52-square-meter apartment near the school they long for in Futian district. They moved into the place months ago.

"We are making preliminary preparations to increase the possibility of being admitted," said Hu. "But I am still not sure whether my daughter can get into the school. The competition is fierce."

Full story at China Daily (September 2015)

Complex 'character test' facing tardy Chinese students

Creative or painful: is 'biang' the hardest Chinese word to write?

A teacher in China has invented a taxing new way of preventing students from turning up late for his classes.

Wang Sijun, who teaches at a university in Sichuan province, has been giving tardy students a complex character to write out on paper 1,000 times.

The Chinese character for "biang", is made up of 56 pen strokes.

The word holds no meaning but local media said Mr Wang drew inspiration for it from the name of a noodle dish he had while visiting Shaanxi province.

The Chengdu Economic Daily newspaper reported that two unfortunate students had received the penalty so far.

The first student said she could not continue writing the word after the 200th time as it became "so tiring".

In the end, she had asked Prof Wang to commute the punishment, and promised that she would never be late for class again.

Full story at BBC News (October 2015)

You can study masturbation at Sheffield uni, but will there be homework?

By Dave Burke

The module is being run for English Literature students

University students are being given lectures on the art of masturbation.

Not, it seems, because they’re doing it wrong, but just to give them a heightened understanding.

Student newspaper The Tab reports students are being encouraged to do independent research.

A lecture, The Art of Masturbation, is being run for English Literature students at the University of Sheffield, with works including EK Sedgwick’s Jane Austin and The Masturbating Girl on the reading list.

The student newspaper also reports that a theory that Sense and Sensibility is an ‘extended lesbian hymn’ will also be discussed.

Dr Fabienne Collignon, one of the tutors behind the lecture, told The Tab: ‘The lecture will be on Walt Whitman, Rob Halpern and the deconstruction of masturbation.

Full story at Metro UK (October 2015)

Blind student scores straight A’s

Jasmin Thien, a student at Jerudong International School (JIS), speaks during an interview. Thien, who went blind when she was eight, scored straight A’s in her AS-level exams earlier this year. BT/Izzati Jalil

By Izzati Jalil

BEING blind did not stop 18-year-old Jasmin Thien from achieving straight A’s in her AS-level examinations in May this year.

Thien, a Year 12 student at Jerudong International School (JIS), scored four A’s in English Literature, History, Psychology and English Language following the release of the Cambridge IGCSE Examination results on August 14.

Thien was born with weak vision in both eyes, but things took a turn for the worst when she was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer that affects children.

She eventually went blind at the age of eight, but this did not stop her from achieving her goals.

Speaking with The Brunei Times yesterday, Thien said she never saw her vision loss as a weakness but used it as an opportunity to explore new possibilities.

“I never saw my disability as something that disables or is a disadvantage, it only made me more goal-driven,” said the youngest child of three.

Her condition was deemed stable and she no longer undergoes treatment since eight years ago.

According to Thien, she sat for the AS-level exam with the help of Job Access With Speech (JAWS) programme – a computer screen reader created for blind and visually impaired users to read with a text-to-speech output or by a Refreshable Braille display.

Full story at The Brunei Times (October 2015)