Parents’ outrage after Chinese students are forced to sign ‘suicide waivers’ before starting college
- More than 5,000 students at the City College of Dongguan University of Technology in Guangdong, China, have been told to sign a ‘suicide waiver’
- The contract absolves the college of responsibility if any of its pupils commit suicide or suffer self-inflicted injuries
- Outraged parents have said the waiver puts an enormous amount of pressure on students
Thousands of students in southern China have been forced to sign a ‘suicide waiver’ before starting university, it is claimed.
More than 5,000 new pupils at the City College of Dongguan University of Technology in China’s Guangdong province have been asked to sign a contract absolving the school of responsibility if any of them commit suicide.
Officials have claimed the waiver, which also covers self-inflicted injuries, merely serves as a ‘warm reminder’ of the college’s code of conduct, according to Chinese media.
But outraged parents have argued the disclaimer – titled the ‘student management and self-discipline agreement’ – puts an enormous amount of pressure on students.
Ms Li, whose son just started his first year at the college and who wishes to remain unidentified, told Time: ‘I think this kind of agreement is irresponsible and unfair, and I doubt it’s going to have any effect on student behaviour.
‘The school should provide counselling services and other help for students, instead of trying to absolve themselves of responsibility even before anything has happened.’
Many of the parents believe the waiver is a way for the university to shun responsibility.
One father – who wishes to remain unnamed – told China Daily he had sent his child to the school because he believed it provided a safe environment for its students.
‘The university shouldn’t pass the buck when things happen on campus,’ he said.
A good education has long been seen as the only path to success in China – with schoolchildren facing immense pressure to do well.
The country’s highly competitive education system – linked to its Confucian heritage – sees pupils spend an average 8.6 hours a day in class, followed by several more hours of homework assignments.
In May this year, two teens in eastern China committed suicide after ‘failing to complete homework assignments’, according to state media.
One of the teens, a 13-year-old boy from Nanjing, the capital of the Jiangsu province, got up at 4am to complete his assignments, but was found hanged on a staircase at home two hours later.
And last year, one Chinese school sparked outrage after using intravenous drips to boost pupils’ ability to study.