Officials take on academic misconduct
China Daily

Photo: IC

Students who cheat on dissertations will be added to social credit system

Postgraduate students who commit fraud in their graduation dissertations will be recorded in the national social credit system, a new guideline said on Tuesday as the country aims to further strengthen the quality of its postgraduate education to cultivate more high-level talent.

The guideline, jointly issued by the Ministry of Education, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance, asked universities and research institutes to intensify their efforts to crack down on academic misconduct.

Academic integrity should be an important part of postgraduate education and training for supervisors, and dissertation writing guidance should be compulsory for all students, the guideline said.

Education authorities should increase the percentage of students going through random dissertation inspection, and should revoke the accreditation of disciplines that fail to ensure the quality of such works, it said.

It also asked universities and research institutes to impose stricter evaluation standards for supervisors, including their work ethic, academic performance and efforts in supervising students.

The guideline came after President Xi Jinping called for greater efforts to cultivate a large body of high-level talent with integrity and the ability to meet the developmental needs of the Party and the country.

In a recent instruction on the country's graduate education, Xi said high-level talent is urgently needed and stressed the importance of graduate education in boosting innovation, aiding economic and social development and modernizing the system and capacity for governance in China.

More than 10 million students in China have obtained master's or doctoral degrees from domestic higher education institutions as of 2020, according to the Ministry of Education. More than 3 million Chinese students will be pursuing their postgraduate studies this year at domestic universities or research institutes, it said.

Lyu Jianping, an official from the Ministry of Finance, said the central government invested 5 trillion yuan ($750 billion) in China's higher education system from 2012 to last year.

Hong Dayong, director at the department of degree management and postgraduate education of the Ministry of Education, said the ministry will issue another guideline to regulate the behavior of supervisors and establish a mechanism to identify and deal with misconduct.

The whole process of postgraduate education, from enrollment to graduation, should have stricter standards, and the country should establish a selection system midway through postgraduate studies to weed out students who are unfit for advanced research, he said.

Ge Daokai, director of Jiangsu Education Department, said as universities in the province have adopted stricter requirements on postgraduate students, more than 8,200 postgraduate students faced delayed graduation last year, and another 758 students who could not meet the standards were asked to end their studies.