|Title:||Chinese University Diploma: Can Its International Image Be Improved?|
|Email:||click here to access email|
|Institution:||University of Wisconsin Madison|
|Linguistic Field:||General Linguistics|
As of 1999, China had more than 800,000 public schools, primary through college, (see: http://www.umich.edu/~iinet/chinadata/stat/ChinaStatistics/Education) churning out over 2.5 million College graduates each year (see: 3/27/02, Xinhua, 'China's college graduates to exceed two million in 2003') with the numbers still on the rise. A different report claims that China currently has 1.35 million schools and an enrollment of 320 million students. (10/30/02, China Daily.com, 'Learning Lessons on Education') In 2001 the class of entering college freshman swelled to 2.6 million, 800,000 more than in 2000, (See: 11/28/01, China Daily, 'Chinese Universities Enroll 2.6 million Freshman') with a total college enrollment of 11.75 million in 2002, 8.02 million more than in 1990. (10/30/02, China Daily.com, 'Learning Lessons on Education') As of 1999 there were more than 13 million teachers serving more than 71 million students. (see: http://www.umich.edu/~iinet/chinadata/stat/ChinaStatistics/Education) Accurate, up-to-date figures do not seem to be readily available, which may be attributable to the sheer magnitude of the situation.
In its quest to make up for lost time, China is mass producing university graduates like a modern factory assembly-line produces consumer goods. Educating a Nation of 1.3 billion people is a monumental task beyond belief. As with any production process, educating China is not without its problems and defective products do occur. Without adequate quality assurance the end product may be unacceptable in the marketplace. Such is the case with so many diplomas from Chinese universities and colleges; they just do not garner the international respect and admiration to which they aspire. There may be multiple factors contributing to this phenomenon but we are here concerned with but one aspect of the problem, the integrity of the diploma and its holder. Was the diploma earned or received through 'guanxi'? (The art of developing relationships and then using them to obtain unjust or undeserved favors, i.e. cheating as a way of life)
Students cheating on tests, students engaging in plagiarism, students manufacturing fake diplomas and credentials, and school administrators' falsification of students' records are rampant practices throughout China's universities and colleges, both public and private. Of this there is neither doubt nor dispute. The question is: Why?
We will explore the various types of cheating and their historical justification or excuse; the extent of current cheating and the underlying reasons that cheating continues to be acceptable even though officially deplored.
Finally we will make a recommendation that may surprise many who labor to read through this entire article.
|Publication Info:||Progress in Education (Chapter, in press)|
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