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Lesson 5

              Is It Good for Students to Have Part-time Jobs?


                               School Part-timers

    More and more high school students in Beijing are turning their minds to ways of making money.
    They are capitalizing on opportunities such as one group of students who went to the front gate of the Children's Centre in the East District of Beijing when a film studio was there conducting auditions.
    The group sold the young hopefuls application forms at five fen a piece after getting the forms from the centre for free.

    Young entrepreneurs are also capitalizing on high demand eommodities not always available away from the big shopping centres. Birthday or greeting cards are an example. One department store estimated that 80 per cent of its sales of cards are to students for resale.
    Xiao Li, a junior high school student at Fengtai District in the southwest region of the capital, spent 40 yuan buying cards from downtown shops just before the last Spring Festival.

    She sold them at her school and schools nearby at prices 15 to 20 per cent higher than what she had paid. In a month, she earned 100 yuan, representing a 250 per cent return on her initial investment.
    A senior high school student who had been selling cards has now become an amateur wholesale dealer. His wholesale price is 8 per cent higher than his purchasing price and 10 per cent lower than the retail price. Within two months, he had earned several hundred yuan in profits.

    Many students have merged their activities to avoid price wars. For example, in an area with few State-owned shops and far from the city centre, student union heads from the schools there have reached an agreement on card prices. The agreement says prices may be higher than at the downtown shops but lower than at the peddlers' stalls.
    Card-selling is just a beginning. Some students turn their eyes to other more profitable ventures.

    Take one senior high school sophomore who has developed a flourishing business selling photos of famous people. He even has his own name card that reads: The High School Student Corporation Ltd of Exploitation of New Technology.
    The student carries a portfolio of the photos around with him in. an atbum to show his young customers. He offers a wide variety of photos, from American movie star Sylvester Stallone in Rambo pose to Taiwan's famous singer Qi Qin.

    "These all depend on my high quality camera, " he boasts and explains how he clipped the pictures from magazines, photographed them and then developed the prints into various sizes. He has sold hundreds.
    Another student is now an amateur salesman for a company and earns a three per cent commission on each sale.
    When he had earned 300 yuan through his own efforts, he said, "I feel that I have really become an adult."

    Most of the money the students earn is spent on theraselves. They can buy high-priced items like a pair of running shoes which can cost as much as 100 yuan-a month' s salary for an average worker. Few parents can afford such luxuries.
    Some students find work to help them realize their dreams of a career.
    Qian Qian wants to become an actress. In her spare time she attends a class outside school that costs 80 yuan a month in tuition, an amount which her parents cannot afford to pay. So she found a job as a waitress in a coffee house to earn her tuition fee.

    Some students get into business for other reasons besides the money.
    Zou Yue, a female student, from a fairly wealthy family, took a job because, she said, "Business can cultivate a sense of competition, which is very important for us in the future.
    A student who once sold cards said young people are encouraged to be independent.
    "But how?" he asked. "You can never be independent unless you can support yourself financially.

    He felt after-school work enhanced a young person's social development, too.
    Practical experience in the workforce has been stipulated by the State Commission of Education as a compulsory programme. This is now closely related with economic benefits fits among high school students.
    One student, sent by her school to work as a shop assistant at a temple fair, earned five yuan a day for a.seven-hour shift behind the counter.

    "I had a sore throat after working for a few days, but I had to hold on, " she said.
    "I wanted to earn the-money and also prove that I was an able girl. "
These temporary job stints give high school students an insight into what work and incomes are all about.
    A job at a State-owned cinema may only earn a worker 40 or 50 yuan a month. But a job with a self-employed trader, may earn the assistant 8 or 10 yuan a day. A writer may get about 20 yuan for an article in a newspaper or a magazine, but a clothes keeper in a swimming pool may earn at least 200 yuan a month.

II. Read
    Read the following passages. Underline the important viewpoints while reading.

                        1. Jobs Attracting Drop-outs

    At quitting time, a throng of very young workers walked tiredly out of the gate of the Lihua Printworks, a township enterprise in Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, Guangdong Province. Fifty per cent were only 13 years old on the average, while the oldest were no more than 17.

    The teen-agers had to work 14 or 15 hours a day. They started at 7 a. m. every day and had to work until noon. After a one-hour lunch break they worked to 6 p.m. and then had another one-hour rest. Then they went to supper and went back to work again for three or four hours.
    Although life was very hard, none of them left. They earned 100 yuan a month. "I have much more money than my father, who is a middle school teacher, ?a girl said proudly.

    In Linxia, the capital of Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province, dozens of mosques were erected, attracting both tourists and pedlars. At the stands that sold beef, vegetables, fruits and books, children were doing business. The oldest were no more than 16 and the youngest about six. One child weighed a kilogram of apples on his balance scale. When he lifted it, the pan of the balance touched his feet. He staggered among the bustling crowds of tourists crying out for business.

    Since the Spring Festival of 1988, more than 1, 000 primary and middle school students at Yulin prefecture in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have left home to work in factories in Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and Dongwan County in Guangdong Province.

    Twelve students from the Xingchang Middle School in I.anzhou, Gansu Province, quit school. They left a letter that said:"Dear teacher: We are grown up. Since you taught us to be independent and selfsupporting, we are beginning now." These children, whose parents are all well educated, were good   students in their class.

    Not far away from Xi' an, an ancient capital in Shaanxi Province, there was a cave dwelling in which more than 30 youths were living. They were all boys between the ages of 11 and 18. "we came out to find a new life," said one boy. But life was not as beautiful as they had dreamed. They had no job and no money. Eventually, they gathered there.
    In Guangzhou 77 per cent of the juvenile delinquents under 18 were found to be truants.

    China News Service reported that it,s very difficult for well-known professors in the universities in Guangzhou to enroll their students.When a medical college planned to enroll 33 students, only 26 people applied .
    In March, 1988, a post-graduate majoring in mechanical engineering in Shanghai Jiaotong University, who came from a remote rural area, asked for permission to quit school. He said that for the sake of changing his backward hometown, he decided to return and do something for it. But he did not go back home; he became a businessman in Shanghai.

    "After three years of study, we will finally get our master's degree and 86.50 yuan as a monthly salary. That can not buy two sweaters. Knowledge is too cheap, "said a graduate student who had quit school.
    In 1988, when the State Commission of Education decided to try a new method of job assignment in some universities, letting the graduates choose their own jobs, and vice-versa, it unexpectedly disrupted the education process itself. Every college student and graduate was busy looking for jobs. They had no time to study.

    "We have no iron rice bowls. The earlier we find a job the better," said a student. A wave of quitting school and going into business has swept the campuses of many universities and colleges in China.
    After the chaotic 10-year-long "cultural revolution'? China had a shortage of 60 million engineers. Now it seems there is a second crisis. Only 11. 8 out of every 10, 000 people are receiving a higher education, 429. 1 studying in high school and 1, 324. 7 in primary school. More and more illiterates are living in the society.


                 2. Those Who Do Not Want to Go to College

    According to the August lOth issue of The Youth , out of 30, 000 school graduates in Shanghai who could take the college entrance examination this year only 23,000 sat for it. What happened to all the others? Allowing for 2, 000 who were exempted from the examination and went straight to college for their brilliance or for whatever reasons, we still have 5, 000 unaccounted for. In other words, more than 16% of school graduates who got good marks and were qualified to take the entrance examination gave up the chance of going to college. This is certainly a new phenomenon ever since 1977 when competitive entrance examination was restored, but the question is, "Is this going to be a growing tendency?"

    To answer this question we have to look into the reasons why the students gave up the examination. Did they give up out of their own free will or were they under some sort of coercion? A simpie clear-cut answer, I am afraid, is impossible to find. Different groups of students give up the examinations for different reasons.

    Those from the key schools (and they are mestly brilliant students), give up for the simple reason that they want to go abroad. Once they become college students, they are bound by certain regulatiens which make it very difficult,if not impossible, for them to leave the country. Then there are those who think there is not much point in going to college anyway because you can hardly ever get an ideal job after you graduate. The pay is low and more often than not the job is outside your field so you get the frustrated feeling of having wasted four precious years of your life in college. Besides, there is always the danger of your being assigned to a post in another part of the country, so why not be practical and look for a well-paid job straight after middle school?

    Graduates from ordinary middle schools gave up their chances because they lacked self-confidence. "Why try when I stand very little chance?" Not only the poorer students themselves thought this wxy, some teachers even did their best to dissuade them from taking the entrance examination. If they could not increase the number of successful candidates from their school, they could at least decrease the number of unsuccessful candidates by not allowing the poorer students to sit for it. In other words if they could not increase the absolute number they would raise the ratio of successful candidates.

    What do teachers generally think of this new phenomenon? Some are frankly worried. "Such students lack drive and want to take things easy. This is a reflection of looking down on knowledge, and should be
taken seriously." Other teachers think there is'nothing to be alarmed about. "Don't we often tell the students that going to college is not the only road they can take? Society is made up of different strata of useful people. Now that the students have made their own choice in finding their place in society, why make such a fuss about it?"