Top Chinese universities not making the grade: Poll

08:26, June 04, 2010      

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More than half of the students polled in a recent survey said that the country does not have universities that can rank as the world's top schools.

The results of the survey, which were released by the social survey center of the China Youth Daily late last month, polled 4,488 people online, with 25.9 percent of them having studied in first-level universities in China.

Only 30.1 percent of the respondents were satisfied with their college experience, the survey showed. Nearly 59 percent said the country lacked top universities on the global scale.

Still, in the latest QS Asian University Rankings, Peking University ranked 12th and Tsinghua University ranked 15th. Both are elite Chinese universities. QS is a global career and education network that ranks universities worldwide every year.

"I have not learnt much from university and I believe the reason is rooted in the educational system in China," said Qian Wei, who spent six years in Peking University.

"Some of the scholars conduct scientific research for money, while others do so solely for gaining recognition," Qian said.

In the survey, 26.8 percent of the respondents said they were discontented with their university life and 35.8 percent of them said it was "not too bad".

Nearly 61 percent of those polled said they had observed academic cheating, 55.8 percent said college education did not encourage innovation, 53.2 percent thought poorly of the evaluation criterion for academic achievement and 50.2 percent said first-level educators were scarce in China.

When asked why they were not satisfied with the college education, 72.2 percent of those polled said the reason was the universities' overlapping administrative and teaching system.

"Some university principals worry that if they are deprived of their administrative title, people will have less respect for their universities," said Zhang Ming, a professor with Renmin University of China.

"But they are actually talking about their own privileges that come along with their posts, such as using cars for free and taking first-class cabins on business trips. I haven't heard of any principal of a world-famous university losing his 'dignity' because he does not hold a position in the government," Zhang said.

In the survey, 71.4 percent people chose "independent culture" as part of the number one criterion for a top university. Such a university should also have a "leading role in society", "good teachers" and "a cultivation of talent". Only 12 percent of those polled believed that the size of the university was important.

Source: (By Cheng Yingqi)


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