The Beijing Electrical Engineering School is a school for secondary vocational education. We attended the weekly raising of the flag ceremony, made a tour through the school and had an interview with Mrs. Zhang, the office manager of the school.
Suggestion: play this sound file while reading the transcript of the ceremony
TRANSCRIPT RAISING OF THE FLAG CEREMONY
(not included in recording: music playing; a marching song for athletes)
(students are coming out of the building and position themselves in lines on the square)
(recording starts here)
P.E. teacher: Every class, stand into dense lines. Dense lines!
P.E. teacher: Don’t chat after u stand in dense lines, close your mouths.
P.E. teacher: Close your mouths! (polite way to say “shot up”)
P.E. teacher: I’ll say the name of your class (if you are still chatting …; your class may get a lower score for behavior)
P.E. teacher: Now let’s start the drill. Everyone… At ease! Attention!
P.E. teacher: The weather today is nice, take out your hands. Don’t forget where and how to put your hands. Put them on the lines of each side of your pants.
P.E. teacher: At ease! Attention! Don’t move or shake your body. Everyone … At ease! Attention!
P.E. teacher: Now, the ceremony of raising the flag begins!
P.E. teacher: Please carry the flag!
(four girls carry the flag to the flagpole, walking the parade step)
(meanwhile, a student spokesman begins to introduce the four girls; carrying the flag is regarded as an honor)
Student spokesman: This week, our class, class five grade one (high school grade one), is on duty. The four girls for hoisting the flag are Pan Jiameng, Shi Yiqing, Ma Yangyang, Wei Jingjing. Pan Jiameng is the Group Secretary in our class, she leads us by example, being one of the top students, she has pretty good marks. Under her leadership, the members of the Youth League work hard and we received lots of compliments from teachers and officials from the school’s Youth League. Ma Yangyang checks for the attendance in the class every day, she works seriously and she likes to help others. Shi Yiqing is the Study Officer in our class. She manages the morning reading in the class and it works well. Now all the classmates treat the morning reading seriously and study pretty hard. Wei Jingjing is the class representative for Politics. She is hard-working and she accomplishes the tasks from the teacher well. She is a good helper to the teacher. Now they will hoist the flag.
P.E. teacher: Hoist the flag! Play the national anthem!
(the music plays the national anthem; the four students hoist the flag; the other students and the teachers are looking at the flag, showing courtesy)
P.E. teacher: The courtesy ends. Now welcome the monitor on duty to give us a speech (a tradition, called “the speech under the flag”)
Monitor: Teachers, students, good morning. Today my topic is promoting the spirit of Beijing and to be a qualified Beijinger. As a vocational student in Beijing, it’s necessary to know the city we are living in. The Beijing Spirit is patriotism, innovation, inclusiveness and virtue.
Patriotism; the most profound and remarkable spirit of Beijing, derived from long time ago, it’s enduring and timeless. It indicates that the world rises and falls with every man’s responsibility. It shows our political duties and how we care about the overall situation. It also shows the spirit of being upright and dedication. Beijingers are relevant to the destiny of the whole nation. We concern about the development of the country. It also shows our braveness to undertake the mission.
Innovation; that is to say, we need to break the routine and improve by innovation. Creativity is the soul of this city, as well as the source of making progress. It presents the state of active enterprising and pursuit of making progress. In recent years, Beijing has made progress in the economic development, science and technology, city construction as well as social management, which is the great proof of the spirit of creativity. Building a world-class city, Beijing is still going to win more opportunities and with its broad mind and innovations a bright future lies ahead.
Inclusiveness; which also means being tolerant and accommodating. In the long process of the growth of the unified multi-ethnic society, Beijing attracts different cultures of the world by its broad and open mind and at the same time makes it a combination of classic, modern, ethnic, and global elements. Cultures from all corners of the world are able to be on the stage. People from different countries, ethnic groups,or regions are enabled to seek the developing opportunities.
Virtue; Beijing is a historic city with a city building history of more than 3000 years and a capital history of 850 years, which not only gives Beijing the brilliant historical culture, but also makes people polite and educated. It gives birth to the unique quality of being kind to others and accommodating everything. In the progress of building a world-class city, Beijing is certainly going to maintain those good qualities and promote socialism’s traditional virtues, promote the spirit of friendship, mutual help and dedication and also present the good quality of humanistic care.
Patriotism, creativity, inclusiveness and virtue are a conclusion of the deep and heavy nationalism of Beijing. While the state of active enterprising indicates its fully inclusive and equitable cultural tradition, as well as the all-accommodated humanistic spirit. Let’s work together to carry forward the spirit of Beijing and try to be a qualified Beijinger.
P.E. teacher: The ceremony of raising the flag ends. Lets welcome the director of the P.E. department, he will announce an award.
Director: Everyone at ease. Good news keeps coming in the electronic invention competition from the primary school and high school students in the city and students in our school: Han Xinyang, Gao Wei, Wen Tong, Fu Qiang, Feng Enze, Zhao Simeng, Gao Yuting, Zhu Rongfei, Qin Yanan, Sun Nannan, Liu Yinan, Xue Dong and Luo Hongzhi got the certificate of second level for young technicians. Let’s congratulate them with the liveliest applause. Those who got the certificate please come to the stage, the leaders in the school will give them the certificate! Hurry!
(students running to the stage)
(march music playing; the kind of march music that is played when handing out awards)
P.E. teacher: Everyone… Attention! At ease! Because there is still some ice on the east and the south side of track of playground, the daily running would be paused for one day to avoid injuries.
P.E. teacher: Now, attention! Let’s leave in order, students on this side leave after the class seven grade one, that side leaves after class two grade two. Class six! Who told that you can leave, leave in order please! Class ten please follow.
(students leaving in row by row order)
After the ceremony we walk around a bit. At the blue colored entrance hall of the school, we pass by students that grabbed a lunch at McDonald’s.
INTERVIEW WITH MRS. ZHANG
At a meeting room in the school we talk with Mrs. Zhang, the school’s office manager.
This school has around 1000 students at four campuses. 90% of them are boys. The campus we visit has over a hundred teachers.
The school was established in 1976 and offers 9 majors, with courses covering subjects from economic and legal affairs to engineering and maintenance. The best major of the school is the maintenance of refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
All students need to learn the basics of electronics, next to their major courses, and have to make several tests to get certificates. They will at least hold a diploma and be a certified electrician when they graduate from this school. Graduates can either further their study in a college or start working as an electrician for a company or for institutions like the National Airport, the National Museum and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Enterprises such as Nokia, Philips, Panasonic, Lenovo and the Forbidden City have interviews with students every year. The students prepare themselves for these interviews with attending courses on etiquette. Next to her administration work, Mrs. Zhang is the teacher for the etiquette courses.
In Europe more than 50% of students attend secondary vocational education and there are special schools for students with difficulties in social behavior. It’s quite different in China. In Beijing, nearly 70% of the students go to universities or colleges, while less than 30% of the students choose to go to a vocational school (there are fewer jobs for student with vocational training because most basic construction work is done by lower paid migrant workers). For students with difficulties to adjust to the system, there are a few special schools in China, but in most cases they have to attend normal schools.
Usually students in the vocational school system are pretty wild, especially in a science and engineering school with a majority of boys. However, students here are very obedient. Mrs. Zhang tells that the school puts emphasis on the moral education and constantly involves students in activities, preventing them from expressing their emotions in a radical way.
On our tour through the school we pass by the school’s workshop for the maintenance of refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Many of the machines are tailor made by teachers to anticipate on the students’ needs. The school’s major in the maintenance of refrigeration and air conditioning systems has a very good reputation in the country and for that reason the government has contributed around 20 million RMB for the construction of this workshop.
This school accepts students nationwide and is cooperating with vocational school in the Zhejiang province. Students spend one year in Zhejiang and two years in Beijing for their study. The tuition is 2200 RMB/year. Students with good marks can get a scholarship for 4000 RMB/year. Students from low-income families can get an additional 500 RMB/year.
After graduation a student can earn around 1500 RMB per month in the first job. Once they get a contract for a longer period, they will make 2000 RMB and this salary goes up when they get more experienced. Although their wages aren’t very good, they usually have better secondary labour conditions than university graduates. For instance, graduates who are now working in the Jing Xi Hotel will get a room in an apartment.
Mrs. Zhang has been working in this school for five years and her basic salary is 4000 RMB. If the government would officially recognize the school as an example for other schools, her salary would go up to 6000RMB per month.
Most students in this school are between 16 and 18 years old. We watched a class creating electrical circuits to operating machines. According to Ms. Zhang, most students are good at hands-on practical work and have no interest in examination oriented courses. That’s why they choose to study in a vocational school.
A couple of years ago, the majority of parents were not willing to let their children study in a vocational school. As the education is developing in China, an increasing number of parents are willing to find a school for their children that best suits their abilities, as opposed to finding a school that matches the highest expectations of parents. This has improved the perception of vocational schools and consequently it has become easier to find a job for graduates. Mrs. Zhang says that their students are more popular among employers than university graduates these days.