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Colleges enforcing academic standards with rigor

Zou Shuo
Updated: Oct 26,2018 8:59 AM     China Daily

More universities in China are raising academic requirements, with poor students facing delays in graduation or downgrading of degrees.

Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, Hubei province, downgraded 18 students from a bachelor’s degree to an associate degree because they fell short of the school’s academic standards.

According to a regulation issued by the university last year, undergraduate students who don’t meet the requirements are given a warning. After two warnings, they are transferred to an associate-level school.

At most universities in China, students who don’t achieve enough credits are given a final chance to take the exams they failed, which are usually easier than the previous ones.

Among the 4,119 graduates of Yunnan University this year, 220 had their graduations delayed because they had insufficient credits, and six students were expelled, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Hunan Polytechnic of Environment and Biology expelled 22 students for failing to reach scores. Forty other students were asked to repeat their senior year.

It is necessary for universities to weed out or postpone the graduations of some unqualified students, Wu Yan, director of the ministry’s Department of Higher Education, said during an interview with Wuhan Evening News.

“We cannot have a ‘happy’ university where students just play computer games, have romantic relationships or idle their time away,” he said.

The country should increase the academic pressure on college students to increase the quality of university education, since they are the backbone of the country’s talent, he added.

After the gaokao, the national college entrance examination, many students avoid their parents’ supervision and skip classes to play computer games or nap while on campus.

In July, Minister of Education Chen Baosheng said the quality of education is the most important criterion for evaluating universities.

University students should study hard during their four years of college, and no student should get a degree while wasting time playing computer games, he said.

Chu Zhaohui, a senior researcher at the National Institute of Education Sciences, said, “This is a wake-up call for many Chinese undergraduates, as universities usually have a higher threshold to get in, with only a 40 percent enrollment rate nationwide and almost the lowest dropout rate in the world.”

For the slackers, it is better to learn the lesson while at school than after graduation, he said.

In January, the Ministry of Education released a plan to support 10,000 majors in its higher education institutes to achieve “world-class” status.

Around 20 percent of majors in China’s universities are expected to become first-class in the world by 2022 to ensure that the country will have competitive talent globally.