China Bans Bras During University Entrance Exams

In an effort to tackle cheating during the country’s annual university entrance exams, education chiefs in northeast China have banned bras, specifically bras containing metal.

Metal detectors have been installed in exam halls in the Jilin province in an attempt to crack down on the increasingly blatant and sophisticated cheating that goes on during the country’s intense university entrance exams. Last year, over 60,000 electronic devices were seized from test takers, including modified pens, watches, glasses, belts, and more.

The day before last year’s exam, police detained over 1,500 suspected cheaters during a crackdown on those stealing exam papers and selling numerous cheating gadgets.

“This year, Jilin will adopt the strictest entrance exam security check in history,” state news agency Xinhua reported.

A letter was sent to candidates’ parents outlining the new policy. Students and staff “will have their clothes, accessories, shoes, hats and any carry-ins strictly checked by professionals and will only be allowed to enter if the equipment does not set off an alarm.”

Bras with metal clips — and presumably underwire, as well — are banned from exam halls, and students with metal fillings or implants will need to bring a doctor’s note with them.

About 9.12 million students — down from a peak 10.5 million in 2008 — will take the gaokao or “high test” this Friday and Saturday. Sadly, emotional breakdowns and suicides are common in the weeks leading up to the exam, and the government-mandated tests have been criticized for putting too much pressure on students.

The nine-hour exam covers math, science, Chinese, and English, and includes an 800-character essay. The results of the exam will determine what university, if any, the student can attend.

According to the GlobalPost, exam takers have hooked themselves up to IV bags full of amino acids to get through cramming for the exam. GP researcher Zhao Chen recalled her experience with exam, saying, “I was told when I was little that only through gaokao can I really get somewhere in our life instead of being stuck in a small, backward place.”

What do you think of China’s decision to ban bras during the gakao?

[Photo credit: Melissa Maples / Flickr]