Taipei, Kaohsiung high school students have launched a petition to stop high schools from making public college entrance exam results and talking up students who do the best, in a bid to keep students out of the media eye.
Launched Thursday, the petition has picked up 5,000 signatures in just two days.
Ou Meng-je one of the initiators of the petition, said in an interview that the appeal's goal is to stop the media from focusing on top students or invading their privacy to get a story.
He also argued that making exam results public and celebrating the students with the top scores creates a narrow stereotype of the kind of students who deserve to be noticed and represents academic elitism.
"Under such a culture, students are not encouraged to explore or develop their own interests and potential; even if students have their own ambitions, they are often not allowed to make choices independently," the petition said.
The petition was triggered by the experience of a former student at Kaohsiung Girl's High School surnamed Feng, who got into Taiwan's most prestigious university, National Taiwan University (NTU).
After Feng was publicly praised by her school as having the highest score on the exam of any of its students, the media tracked down her story and delved into her private life.
According to local media, she did well enough on the college entrance exam to get into NTU with the help of her boyfriend, a top student at the all-boy Kaohsiung Municipal Kaohsiung Senior High School.
The boyfriend, however, did not get into NTU and was then dumped by the girl, local media reported.
Lin Hsiang-Yin the principal of Kaohsiung Girl's High School that released the information on Feng, said she will sign the petition and that most students have also voiced their support for it.
She said the school has decided to no longer hold a press conference to publicly distribute the exam results and release an official news statement instead.
The petition also garnered the support of government agencies.
Education Administration Director-General Peng Fu-yuan said he recognized the students' appeal and will advocate the petition at national meetings.
The petition has received backing from some other prestigious schools, such as Taipei First Girls High School and Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School in Taipei, but some schools said they will still provide exam-related information as a reference if there are media inquiries.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel