What kind of room is full of desks and students, with books piled nearly as high as the students’ heads, and has IVs lines hanging from the ceiling?

This strange combo might sound far less peculiar if I told you that it is a classroom in a nursing college or medical school. But that’s not the truth.

Welcome to Xiaogan, in China’s Hubei province, where a high school has begun administering intravenous fluids to seniors while they study for the make-and-break that is the “gao kao,” China’s National College Entrance Exam.

Education bosses thought the idea up in order to help boost the students’ performance.

“Just what is in the IVs?” I hear you asking.

Concentrated amino acids, says school officials.

In an effort to help offset the damages done to these teenagers’ health from excessive studying, school authorities took their already controversial policy one step further.

In China, the state grants a subsidy for pupils participating in the exam to visit their school’s infirmary (not my word choice!) if they feel unwell. Students are then administered the amino acids via a drip.

Office of Academic Affairs’ Director Xia was quoted telling ChinaNews24 that “the state grants a 10 RMB subsidy for amino acids to each graduating senior that participates” in the exam, which is held in June.

In this particular case, the students were allowed to have their enhancement cocktails in the classroom in order to save them time from having to go back and forth between the infirmary and the classroom.

School spokesman Pingqiang Gao said that they are “happy to carry on if the students want to.”

These amino acid cocktails are meant to boost the students’ ability to study by increasing overall physiological health and stamina while keeping them calm.

I don’t which is more disturbing — the act itself or the fact that these students actually need medical intervention when studying for a test.


Stewart Brently
Stewart Brently hails from Seattle, WA. He is a freelance writer and editor, adult EFL instructor and psychotherapist. As copy editor for the site, he works to make the WAN content tidy and intelligible, while keeping his ears to the streets for strange happenings on the little island of Taiwan, where he calls home.
Stewart Brently