In China's coronavirus-hit Hubei, healthcare staff's children will get extra exam points

Doctors at work in the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in China's central Hubei province on Feb 16, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - Children of China's front-line medical workers battling the deadly coronavirus will be awarded extra exam points when applying for schools and higher education, local officials said Tuesday (Feb 18).

Doctors and nurses in Hubei province - where the outbreak originated and which has reported the majority of deaths - have been lionised online and by state media.

China's schooling system places a major emphasis on exams, and even younger children face extreme competition to get into top schools that parents believe will raise their chances of getting into a good university.

The measures will "further care for the province's front-line medical staff" and encourage them to be more "resolute" in their fight to contain the virus, the province said in a statement.

Children of medical workers applying for high school this year can receive an additional 10 points in their entrance exams, while younger children will be prioritised for admission at public kindergartens, according to officials.

Although millions expressed their grief online when whistleblowing doctor Li Wenliang died - with other medical workers' deaths similarly mourned on a smaller scale - Chinese social media users complained it was unfair to reward only medical staff in Hubei.

"Bonus points are already unfair, but only offering it to Hubei staff makes it even more unfair to other provinces because they all went there to help," one user on the Twitter-like Weibo platform wrote.

More than 32,000 medical workers from elsewhere in China have been sent to the province as reinforcement, Hubei's government said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Others argued the children themselves were undeserving of the reward.

"It is not appropriate for the child to benefit from their parent's devotion," one user wrote.

"This would lead to education unfairness."

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