Higher Education in China: BBC Article Confuses Quantity With Quality

November 20, 2007

The BBC ran a piece about the massive growth in China’s university system, implying that in this area, as with so many others, China is on the fast track to become a world power.

Sadly, in this case, the author confuses quantity with quality. The growth in the number of students seeking University credentials in China is staggering, but so are the problems associated with this growth, which include plagiarism, unaffordable tuition fees, poor infrastructure, post-grad unemployment issues, freedom of expression obstacles, and under-paid staff (problems of course not unique to China…).

For more details on these problem, Beijing-based Paul Mooney has written several articles for the Chronicle of Education, two of which are cited below:

  • “Chinese University Presidents Assail ‘Rock Bottom’ Academic Ethic,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug 4, 2006, Vol. 52, Iss. 48
  • “The Long Road Ahead for China’s Universities,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 19, 2006, Vol. 52, Iss. 37

Students who have taken my classes know I believe that a strong, prosperous, and sustainable (socially and environmentally) China benefits all of us, especially as a much needed global balancer to US power. It is because I believe that educational reform is so important to China’s future that I couldn’t let this one-sided story slide without comment.

Of course, the news for China’s higher education sector is certainly not all bad, with 6 universities in China making the Times Higher Educational Supplement top 100 (including HKU @ 18). That said, readers are encouraged to share other articles that provide a more balanced perspective on the state of higher education in China.

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One Response to “Higher Education in China: BBC Article Confuses Quantity With Quality”


  1. […] Higher Education had some great ideas on this topic.You can read a snippet of the post here.The BBC ran a piece about the massive growth in China’s university system, implying that in this area, as with so many others, China is on the fast track to become a world power. Sadly, in this case, the author confuses quantity with … […]


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