By Cal Widdall
Students of Xiangji Middle School, in Hunan province, have protested against their full class schedule by burning books, covering the playground with their debris. Kindle owners at the school are presumably still looking for a way to display their anger.
The protest happened on March 9th, when students turned up for a three-hour cramming session at 7pm (after finishing classes at 6pm), only to find the electricity had gone out and they were expected to study in the dark. This was the spark that started a
prairie fire textbook fire, as students switched their studies to pyrology and set their educational materials ablaze.
Offbeat China translated some of the students’ comments:
“All of us, all students participated. The whole building was mobilized.” said one student in memory of the night’s ‘revolution’.
“It was like snowing,” another one added, “The playground was completely covered by debris of books. Some were burning books, some tearing, and some pouring water from above directly using water dispensers.”;
One student explained, “The power outrage was just an excuse for us to vent out long bridled anger. We simply wanted the school to know that we hate cramming classes and we are tired.”
The students’ only time off is on Sunday morning, despite the government banning cram classes on weekends and public holidays. The headmaster of the school defended the schedule by saying “;Every school does it. That is not a secret. If we don’t do cramming classes, parents would come and complain.” Unfortunately, nobody was around to patronisingly ask if all the other headmasters jumped off a cliff, would he do it too.
Besides avoiding confrontations with tiger mothers, schools also use the cram classes as an extra source of revenue, with each student paying upwards of 1000RMB for their educational jail cells.
It’s unclear at this stage whether students at other schools are showing solidarity by carrying out 24-hour ‘Occupy Classrooms’ protests, or simply complying with their schedules.