[photopress:mba_birds_degrees.jpg,full,alignright]Enthusiasm for pursuing academic degrees has been popular in China’s political circles.
Certainly officials who receive on-the-job education and enrich themselves deserve encouragement and promotion. But apparently, some of them have obtained their degrees in a short period via personal power and public funds, under the auspices of certain higher educational institutions.
Note that this is not a problem exclusive to China. It happens all over the world. Time and time again quite senior people are found laying claim to degrees and titles for which they are in no way entitled.
In China the Provisional Regulations for Selection and Appointment of Party and Government Leading Cadres, issued in February 1995, stipulated that leading cadres generally must hold a vocational college or higher educational degree, and those provincial or ministerial cadres should have a college or higher educational degree.
In January 2006, the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) further clarified that the local chief cadres should consist of young officials aged around 45 with a college or higher education degrees.
Many local officials seem to be using academic credentials as a stepping-stone toward quick promotion.
But there are problems. A deputy head of a county in Hunan Province said, ‘I’m busy with administrative affairs; I simply cannot spend much time to study. But without an academic credential, you will not be promoted no matter how great your achievements.
‘I had no choice but apply to the provincial committee’s Party school. The year after my graduation, I was promoted to my current position. I know this is not a real diploma, but it’s really useful.’
A teacher in charge of post-graduate education in a college said, ‘There are a variety of ways for officials to wangle a diploma. Usually, officials will show up a few times during enrollment, examinations and graduation. Their secretaries sit for them in classes. Sometimes, teachers are lecturing to a class full of secretaries.’ Of course, on the plus side you end up with a lot of very well educated secretaries.
Statistics showed that by the end of 2006, 9.9% of 110,000 college education credentials submitted to the National College Student Information and Career Guidance Center for authentication were ‘questionable’.
(This is but a very small part of a fascinating story translated from the Outlook magazine for China.org.cn by Huang Shan, November 11, 2007. Click on Source to read the full version in English.)