Chinese Terminology: Education phrases in the past 70 years
By Jasmine Cen

No matter when they attended school, in the old days or now, students always want to be top-notch. The highest standard you can achieve in China is called Sanhao Xuesheng in Chinese, or "merit student (good in three aspects)". The concept was first brought up in 1953. It means in order to excel at school, a pupil has to be outstanding in three aspects: morally, intellectually, and physically. Any students up to those standards would be so honored.

Of course, striving for academic success is not enough. Having a healthy body and mindset is equally important. From elementary school to high school, physical activities always involve a choreographed exercise routine - Guang Bo Ti Cao. And now, let's play it. This is the fifth edition introduced in the 1970s, featuring music. And it soon gained popularity with both the young and the old.

At school, students also join different leagues. Under the ruling of the government, there was a phrase called "being red and expert." It means students should have a full grasp of political understanding: the ruling party's vision. The term was used to define those young leaders who develop knowledge in both politics and service work. After all, it means you have full understanding of the socialist spirit.

After high school, it's time for college. The college entrance exam resumed in China in 1977 after a halt of ten years. At that time, if you were admitted to a college, you would be called Tianzhijiaozi in Chinese, which means the chosen one. It represented privilege and being top-notch as only a few people could make it, and it's surely something to be proud of.

As you grew as a student through the 1950s and 60s, China opened up more to the world. And more Chinese people were heading out of the country. The trend of going abroad, called Chuguochao in Chinese, was quite popular at the time. As it was rare and expensive to travel abroad, the opportunities came either through government funding or scholarships.

Fast forward to today, the spirit of striving for excellence continues to be part of the Chinese ethics. Many people work hard to become straight-A students, earning them the informal title of Xueba, or "super student."

So, how to be top-notch in your studies in China? First, by being a super scholar and knowing Chinese politics - known as being red and expert. Second, get your proof of honor by being a "three-good student." And third, be the chosen one and potentially earn your opportunity to study abroad.