Scores from China's college entrance examination, known as gaokao, were released over the weekend and one visually impaired student's result has received attention from both local media and top universities.
Wang Yun, who lost his sight when he was 4 years old, earned an impressive 623 points out of 660. According to Wenhui Daily, prestigious universities like Tsinghua and Peking have shown interest in recruiting him.
But rather than rest on his accomplishments, Wang and his family are looking ahead.
“Gaokao is just one test and there will be more tests awaiting him in the future,” said his mother, Hou Junmei.
Surprised at his own high score, Wang told Wenhui, “it’s not an end, but a beginning.”
Blindness aside, Wang has always believed himself as capable as other children, and his parents always treated him like an ordinary kid. Like his peers, he learned at an early age to feed and dress himself. As he grew older, he learned to swim, ride a bike and take the Metro.
But getting a formal education was another matter, given the unequal distribution of schooling resources and opportunities for the disabled in China. Wang’s parents visited several schools around the country. The family moved to Shanghai 11 years ago after learning that students from Shanghai School for the Blind were eligible to take gaokao, and thus compete for entrance in local university.
Fang Xuejuan, Wang’s head teacher, describes the boy as an efficient and attentive student. His marks were so good that he’s even tutored four of his classmates.
Wang’s interests and skills extend outside of the classroom. He has taken part in two half marathons and hiked several mountains with his father. He’s also a talented musician on the bamboo flute and piano.
In his spare time he attends English-speaking contests and charity events; and in 2016 won a second-prize in the national English-speaking contest for the visually impaired. An organization he founded at his school raises money for blind children in Tibet.
“Some blind people fear challenges not because they can’t see, but because they’ve lost confidence,” he said. “Once they fail something, they attribute the failure to their blindness. But if you see blindness as a characteristic instead of a defect ... one day you will be proud of yourself due to your blindness.”
Wang has not decided yet which university to apply for. Currently, there are only three universities in Shanghai that accept blind students — East China Normal University, Shanghai Normal University and Shanghai Polytechnic University.
Shanghai opened gaokao to blind students in 2002, preparing special exam papers and test rooms for them, and allowing extra time to finish.
Since then, about 100 blind students have taken gaokao and almost all of them have been admitted into universities.