Dreaming of Higher Education
Every year in China, the national college entrance exam (Gao Kao) is administered, and sitting for this national exam remains the best (and often only) way for a rural child to escape a life of poverty. The nine-hour test is offered just once a year and is the sole determinant for admission to Chinese university. Almost ten million students sit for the exam each year, trying to receive a coveted spot at one of the 1900 colleges in China. The competition is fierce, and families push their children to study for hours each and every day throughout their high school years.
For an orphaned child to sit for this exam is an accomplishment in itself. For an orphaned child to pass the exam with high enough marks to enter university is extraordinary.