Student’s worst nightmare: Chinese university sends grades straight to parents

Every university student’s worst nightmare has become reality in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, where a college has sent detailed grade reports straight to parents.

The unusual move came to light when unidentified students from Shenzhen University complained on social network WeChat that they had been asked to provide their parents’ addresses for “security reasons”, Shenzhen Evening News reported on Wednesday.

The students were perturbed when they later found out that their results had been sent by special delivery to their parents instead of them.

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“Shenzhen University has magically sent my grades to my parents,” according to a screenshot of one student’s WeChat post included in the report. “I’m not sure how my mum will react once she sees that I’ve taken modules in sexology.”

Another student from the university wrote: “Seeing my roommates trying their best to explain their grades to their mums, and telling them how many credits they must study for, is making me a bit nervous. I’m wondering if I will get a call from my dad tonight.”

The report also included photos of a letter with the grades of a student from the university’s College of Life Sciences and Oceanography that was posted on WeChat.

But according to the newspaper, the letters were not delivered to the parents of all students at the university.

On Tuesday, Shenzhen University hinted that it may send grade reports to students’ parents in a post on its official Weibo page. “If we were to send grades to parents’ homes in the future, how would you view this?” the university asked in the post, which has since been deleted.

Social media commenters responded that other colleges in China, such as Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, Nanchang University and Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, had been sending results straight to parents in recent years.

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Yang Dongming, a former academic director at East China Jiaotong University, told the NetEase news site that the college had been sending grade letters to parents for the past two decades.

“If students’ grades are not too ideal, they will definitely be under some pressure after their parents receive their results. But university students are adults, and we hope that this pressure can be turned into motivation for their studies,” Yang was quoted as saying.

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Many people on WeChat expressed support for the decision, but others said they believed it violated students’ privacy.

“As a parent, I support this 100 per cent. Shenzhen University is great for doing this. I spend so much money every year on my child’s education, and don’t even know their teachers’ phone numbers,” wrote one commenter.

Another highly rated comment read: “Everyone is an adult. Should grades remain private if you haven’t given the school permission to release the information to other people?”

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