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Report blames exam-oriented education for youth suicide

BEIJING, May 14 (Xinhua) -- According to a new education report, the exam-oriented pressure has become a major factor leading to Chinese young students' suicide.

The report was published in Wednesday's Beijing News and is released annually by the 21st Century Education Research Institute and the Social Sciences Academic Press.

The report cited a study on suicide cases of primary and secondary school students by Cheng Pingyuan, a sociology professor from Nanjing Normal University.

Cheng's data was mainly collected from media reports about 79 cases of student suicides that happened last year. Cheng found that most of the deaths occurred under the influence of pressure, including conflicts with teachers and pressure from school work.

Exam-oriented pressure causing psychological vulnerability in students should be blamed for the cases, the report said.

The report said two student suicide cases happened within a day after last year's Labor Day holiday and both were believed to be triggered by pressure due to failure to finish homework.

Another major reason for suicide the report cited was teacher misconduct such as verbal abuse and corporal punishment.

However, it also noted that an improper emphasis on students' exam performance has led to teacher indifference toward students' emotions.

The report did not detail changes in trends of suicide numbers, but according to a 2007 report from the school of public health under Peking University, one out of five middle school students had entertained the idea of suicide.

The current exam-oriented education system needs reforms to encourage youth to embrace diversified values if China wants to bring down and eliminate such tragedies, the researcher was quoted as saying by the newspaper report.

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