奥数叫而不停 (Complaints/discussion of the Math Olympiad have not stopped / àoshù jiào ér bùtíng) refers to the call by some parents and education scholars to end the usage of students’ Math Olympiad (an international test wherein high school competitors try to solve increasingly difficult and complex math problems) results as a metric for admissions to college.
As mentioned in a previous post, Yang Dongping, an education scholar and critic of inequality in China’s schooling system, criticized schools’ emphasis on the aoshu (奥数 / Math Olympiad)—he declared that the aoshu had worse effects than pornography in child development—and feared that the intense training students received in solving these abstract math problems was coming at the expense of a more rounded education. Furthermore, the pressure aoshu was placing on students—whose college careers were at the mercy of a 6 problem test—and parents—who were in essence forced to spend thousands of dollars sending their kids to afterschool training camps in order to prep for the exam—was hurting their mental health and financial situations. Some regional governments responded to this by banning the usage of aoshu test results as a factor in college admissions or banning aoshu training centers outright, as Beijing sought to do in 2012.
In a break from our usual series of highlighting words blocked from searching on Weibo, for the next two days I’ll be looking more deeply at the keywords on chat messenger app LINE’s “bad words” list. For more about this series, see this introductory post.