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English>>China Society

Surge in postgrads puts pressure on advisers

By Luo Wangshu and Yang Yao  (China Daily)

09:45, October 23, 2012

In the wake of studies showing the number of postgraduate students had doubled in the past decade, education insiders have raised concerns that supervisors are now under greater pressure.

Universities and higher institutions planned to recruit 584,000 postgrads in 2012, compared with 268,000 in 2003, according to the Ministry of Education.

Although the increase in educators has kept pace - ministry data for 2010 show there were 260,000 postgrad supervisors, compared with 128,000 in 2003 - insiders say they are now responsible for more students, which is affecting quality.

"In the past, one supervisor had one to two students. Now some young faculty members with energy have a dozen," said Zhu Xiaoman, a professor at Beijing Normal University's School of Education.

"Students used to follow their supervisors around to get more chances to have conversation. It was an immersed education environment, which is critical in a postgraduate education," she said, adding that nowadays, students are more like products off an assembly line.

The large number of graduate students requires more advisers, but some do not have solid credentials.

Zhu recalled that, in 1995, when she started to recruit PhD students, her school at the time - Nanjing Normal University - only had 17 professors with the credentials to recruit PhD students.

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