Crackdown on epidemic cheating
Registration for the national entrance examinations for postgraduate study started last month, but it seems some students can’t resist the temptation to take shortcuts.
Media reports show that a cheating epidemic has swept many universities in recent years, with thousands of students plagiarizing, bribing teachers or buying essays online.
Bribery usually happens in the second round of written tests and interviews, in which universities have the final say on results. Education experts have expressed concern over the phenomenon.
“It’s quite worrying to find students offering precious gifts or even cash to a teacher,” said Zhang Guoliang, professor of communication at Shanghai Jiaotong University.
“Although universities are getting better at detecting bribery, the view across the education sector is that the practice has increased,” said Zhang.
Students are complaining about being affected by misconduct in graduate school recruitment. Chen Huanhuan, 26, enrolled in the postgraduate school of journalism and communication at a university in South China in 2009. She said there was only one government-subsidized place.
“I achieved the highest score in the preliminary exam - nearly 30 points higher than the next student. But the result of the second exam showed that another girl had surpassed me,” explained Chen. “Later, I learnt from underhand dealings. It was unfair. She took the subsidized place and I had to pay the fees.”
For students trying to enter postgraduate school at another university, competition from undergraduates in the target university can be fierce.
Lin Weiqiang, 24, was unable to enter graduate school last year after completing his degree in computer science at South China University of Technology.
He visited his target university, but could hardly even meet with tutors. “Local students can easily make an appointment with tutors. Some even bring expensive gifts,” said Lin.
Candidates who get on postgraduate courses by cheating lack motivation to work hard.
“Many subjects are a waste of time for me,” said a student surnamed Zhao, 25, an art history major. “But earlier this year, I found a way to get better grades by bribing a teacher with fancy wines and money. ”
The government is trying to combat cheating by establishing new laws. Universities are also taking a more serious stance on academic misconduct.
Educators have introduced measures to prevent inappropriate intervention. Many colleges require at least three teachers to sit in on interviews.
Luo Tiehui, deputy director of the Enrollment and Employment Center at Wuhan University said, “Anyone can complain via the phone number and email address published on our website. We monitor the performance of postgraduates through tutors.”
Any suspected cases of impropriety in the marking of an exam will be reported and investigated by the university.
He Hong, deputy director of the academic affairs office at Sun Yat-sen University said: “For a student found guilty of misconduct, a range of penalties apply, including expulsion from the university.”