Students at Chinese uni pick majors via lottery

CHANGSHA • A central China university has caused controversy by making students pick their majors through a lottery system.

The auditorium at the University of South China in Hunan province was crowded with hundreds of students last Tuesday queueing to pick their majors through the luck of the draw.

Second-year students from the Department of Civil Engineering under the urban planning school are required to focus on one of the department's seven majors.

Mr Lu Qinghua, a university official, said that they were "forced" to conduct the lottery.

"We were forced to take these measures. If choosing a major is solely based on students' wants, some majors will be overcrowded and others will have difficulty enrolling enough students. There are some other colleges that use this method," he said.

Mr Lu added that not all of the department's 585 students were forced to rely on luck. The top 190 students are allowed to choose their majors, and students in the lottery are allowed to swop drawn majors with another student.

Online users criticised the university for its lazy governance.

"The college lacks a sense of responsibility. Students should enjoy the right to choose the majors they prefer, and the college should not sacrifice students' chances of personal development for the sake of maintaining a balance among majors," said Internet user "Jingshuishenliu" on news portal Sohu.com.

But one student told The Beijing Times newspaper: "I think it is quite fair. Students are encouraged to study hard to gain the chance to freely choose majors."

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2015, with the headline 'Students at Chinese uni pick majors via lottery'. Print Edition | Subscribe