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Students in Quake-hit Yushu Prepare for Exam

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Senior high student Chosan studies intensely in a tent classroom, eyes fixed on a notebook, in her last-minute preparations for the national college entrance exam that will start on Monday.

For weeks, she has worked from 5:00 AM till midnight, trying to ignore the rubble and debris outside. Two of her classmates died in the quake that shook Yushu Prefecture, a predominantly Tibetan community in northwest China's Qinghai Province, on April 14.

The ruins nevertheless sadden her.

"We have to leave them (people killed in the quake) behind us for the moment to succeed in the exam. It's what they would have wished for," Chosan says.

"Going to college is my only hope for the future. After gaining skills and knowledge, I will return to rebuild my hometown," says the student at the Vocational School of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

The students keep studying even during meals. They listen to half an hour of music after lunch, which is the only break in the day, says Li Yan, who taught Chinese at the school.

Fifty-six of the school's students and five teachers were killed in the 7.1-magnitude quake that left 2,698 people dead.

The central government has pledged to help survivors sitting the college entrance exam with favorable policies that include:

-- A special admission program for quake-zone students. However, the number of students to be admitted to colleges through the program has yet been revealed.

-- Examinees will have bonus marks in their final scores.

-- Colleges are advised to give priority to examinees from the quake-zone in admission.

-- Vocational training and other education programs are offered for failed examinees.

Yushu's education and public security authorities are working hard to ensure the examination goes smoothly.

Make-shift classrooms, in tents or prefabricated houses where the students are going to take the tests, have been erected, says Fang Guangming, deputy head of Yushu County's education bureau.

Police and teachers will oversee the security and fairness of the examination, he says.

(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2010)

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