Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Red Student Riots

In an attempt to cover all stories educational comes news that riots have broken out in China over the worthless nature of recently received qualifications.

Students riot at China military academy over claims degrees not to be recognized [China Post]

BEIJING -- Civilian students at an artillery academy run by China's People's Liberation Army have rioted over reports their diplomas would not be recognized, a radio station reported Friday.

Protests broke out Wednesday at the PLA Artillery Academy in the eastern city of Hefei among self-funded students who are not military cadets and have not been accepted into formal degree-earning programs, according to Radio Free Asia, a private broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress.

The report follows scattered reports of campus unrest around China, often sparked by anger over phony degrees, weak job prospects and primitive living conditions.

RFA said students began smashing dormitories on Wednesday after word spread that their diplomas would not be recognized either by the Defense Ministry or the Education Ministry.

Police and military officers sent to calm the situation were driven out amid clashes that left several people beaten and bloody, the report said.


The International Herald Tribune get closer to the economics. Clearly, the emphasis here is the "cut throat" market. Education is very important and in some respects students can not afford to make a mistake. One wrong course as a result of poor research and lead to financial and academic disaster. Given the cost of education and the decreasing returns it is crucial to get it right. These riots are understandable. Moreover, with parents getting into high levels of debt to fund their single child's education as an investment (and pension substitute) the pressure on the student is also immense.

Report: Students riot at China military academy over claims degrees not to be recognized [IHT]

Civilian students at a Chinese military academy smashed windows and clashed with authorities in protest over reports their diplomas would not be recognized in the increasingly cutthroat job market, a radio station reported Friday.

A duty officer at the People's Liberation Army Artillery Academy in the eastern city of Hefei said violent protests broke out on Wednesday, but refused to give his name or say what sparked the unrest.

He said calm had returned by Thursday afternoon and some students had returned to class on Friday morning. He denied that any students had been injured, but wouldn't say whether any had been detained or expelled.

Radio Free Asia, a private broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress, said the campus disturbances were led by activists among self-funded students who are not military cadets and have not been accepted into formal degree-earning programs at the school.

Police and military officers sent to calm the situation were driven out amid clashes that left several people beaten and bloody, the report said.

The accounts said that while students were able to gain admission with relatively low scores on the national college entrance exam, their families were required to pay placement fees totalling around 40,000 yuan (US$5,4000; €36,640) in addition to tuition of 8,800 yuan (US$1,190; €807) per year — about double that charged by similar schools.

Altogether, costs associated with completing the four-year program constituted a huge burden on most parents, the reports said. Such practices reflect broader concerns over families going deep into debt to fund their children's educations to give them a step up amid surging numbers of job applicants.

Similar complaints have sparked scattered rioting on other campus, along with other unrest blamed on high fees and primitive living conditions.




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2 comments:

maskofchina.com said...

Yes, economics plays a part in these riots, but what has probably been overlooked is the fact that a lot of these private schools lied during the recruitment process saying they would be able to give graduates degrees when in fact they knew full well that they wouldn't be able to do so. I worked in a school where this happened in Dalian. So yes the economics theme is secondary to the deception theme. Students/parents would never would have laid down the big tuition fees if they had known the 'degrees' they were getting were as useful as toilet paper.

ChinaEconomist said...

Thanks for the comment. I agree with your statement.

The issue is why were the parents ripped off so easily?

The low price for what seemed like good quality should have set alarm bells ringing.

A quality education costs money and trying to do it on the cheap is always frought with danger