China university assigning majors through lottery

Beijing, Sep 13 (IANS) A university in China’s Hunan province has caused controversy by making its students pick their majors through a lottery system, the media reported on Sunday.

The auditorium at the University of South China was especially crowded the evening of September 8, when hundreds of students queued to pick their majors through a lucky draw, People’s Daily reported.

Lu Qinghua, an official with the school, said: “We were forced to take these measures. If choosing a major is solely based on students’ wants, some majors will be overcrowded and others will have difficulty enrolling enough students. There are some other colleges that use this method.”

Critics have said the university’s methods are a sign of lazy governance.

“The college lacks a sense of responsibility. Students should enjoy the right to choose the majors they prefer, and the college should not sacrifice students’ chances of personal development for the sake of maintaining a balance among majors,” said an internet user on news portal Sohu.com.

Si Hanhan, a writer for news portal gmw.cn, said that instead of deciding majors in such an “irresponsible” way, universities should re-adjust the majors offered and eliminate those that do not meet the needs of the job market, as well as offer more guidance to students when choosing their majors.

An official surnamed Su with the publicity department of the university said the policy has been in place for years and the school had also sought advice from instructors and students twice in the past.

“After one year of study, students whose performance is in the top 10 percent can apply to change majors,” she said.

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