[photopress:expose_corruption_at_universities.jpg,full,alignright]First the good news. The corruption referred to has little to do with academics as in teaching or research. The academic world has traditionally been considered a realm of pure scholarship virtually free from temptation.
Offenses committed by college and university teaching staff have become a growing problem in recent years. But, in the report in the People’s Daily, the offenses were mainly outside the academic arena.
39% were related to project tenders, 33% to equipment purchases, 15% to student enrollment, and 13% to financial administration. No slipping the teaching staff a few notes to get better marks. At least, none reported.
However the corruption and bribery is galloping forward. One person involved in 2004, six people in four cases in 2005, and 21 people in 15 cases in 2006. That, however, may merely indicate that the system is getting better at finding misdeeds.
All of the major cases cited were of people from the university taking bribes from project developers and contractors. Education experts say many loopholes exist in colleges and universities because of centralization of power and confusion in teaching material and equipment purchasing, assets management, and lack of financial transparency.
Zhou Xuebin, a division chief from the Hubei Provincial Department of Finance, explained, ‘A director of a university’s asset management department has the power to independently examine and approve deals up to RMB1 million each time. Although the financial department is responsible for examination and approval of the budget reports submitted by colleges and universities and the allocation of funds, the latter mainly decide themselves how to spend the money.’
Gao Jinzhang, an official from the Hubei Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC, said, ‘Corruption and duty-related offenses committed by college and university teaching staff cause more than just financial losses. More importantly, they exert a bad influence on students and this has a direct bearing on the future of the country.’