BEIJING, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of Chinese have joined a debate on whether students should be separated into science and liberal arts classes in high school, a practice that allows them to stay competitive in college entrance exam by choosing preferred subjects.
The debate came after the Ministry of Education began to solicit opinions from the public on Friday on whether it was necessary and feasible to abolish the classification system, which have been adopted for decades.
In a survey launched by www.qq.com, a Chinese portal, more than 260,000 people cast their votes as of Saturday with 54 percent of those polled voted for the abolishment and 40 percent against.
More than 87,000 netizens have made also their voice heard as of 10 a.m. Sunday morning in the website's forum.
A netizen from Chengdu, capital of southwest Sichuan Province, who identified himself as a high school math teacher, said "students should study both arts and science so they could have comprehensive development and become more flexible in using their knowledge."
"Sciences can activate the mind, while arts could strengthen their learning capability," he added.
But some people disagreed with him.
A netizen nicknamed "gentle scholar" said the students would have more burden if they have more subjects to study.
"You are not students. You don't even know how difficult and arduous the courses are. I suggest a survey among students."
"Abolish the current system of division? We have to study nine subjects? Finally we will study everything and have learnt little," wrote another netizen.
Li Yanling, an education expert in Beijing, said the division of arts and sciences classes have made some students and teachers eager for quick success in limited areas and become exam-oriented.
But she called on education authorities to consider students' academic burden when forging ahead with the reform.
Ma Jinglin, vice principal of Beijing No. 8 Middle School, said it needs time to carry out education reform and suggested education authorities start with pilot programs.
Chinese students are required to choose either arts or sciences subjects after ten years' education, which include six years in primary school, three years in junior high school and one year in senior high school.
Besides the Chinese language, mathematics and English, which are must for everyone, science students are required to take physics, biology and chemistry, while arts students study politics, history and geography.