Research and investigation into corruption and control of corruption in the higher education sector

27 Dec 2013

Corruption in higher education has become an important form of corruption in contemporary China. This research is built on the basis of a questionnaire-based investigation into the following three groups: cadres in higher education, students in higher education, and the parents of students in higher education. This paper looks separately at: the general state of corruption in higher education; the important fields, official posts, and social sectors relating to corruption in higher education; the causes of corruption in higher education; and personal experiences of, and opinions towards, corruption in higher education. Lastly, it probes issues such as possible measures to reduce corruption. The investigation has discovered that corruption in higher education is already rather widespread, although it is less serious than in other fields. Building infrastructure, decision-taking, and student enrolment have already become the three areas in higher education in which corruption is most serious. There is a close connection between corruption in higher education and current poor management in the higher education management system. The direction to take in reducing corruption is to move towards good governance in higher education: specifically, to allow teachers and students more participation in pedagogical research and pedagogical affairs; to increase the transparency of basic information regarding the management in higher education institutions, especially regarding financial affairs; to have more external supervision and auditing of the management in higher education; and to have fairer competition between different types of higher education institution.

Key words: corruption in higher education, manifestations and causes, good governance in higher education

Corruption in the field of higher education (below simply referred to as ‘corruption’)has already become an important form of corruption in contemporary China, and has caught the attention of all sectors of society. From July to October 2012, with the assistance of the Research Committee on Clean Governance in Higher Education and the Political-Legal School of Northeastern Normal University, and the training department of the National Academy of Education Administration, the author undertook a questionnaire-based investigation into three ‘interest groups’, namely leading cadres at all levels in higher-level educational institutes, students in higher education, and the parents of students in higher education (see Appendix 1 for a sample of these questionnaires). The quantity of effective questionnaires received from each group was 114, 118, and 139 respectively. An analysis of the basic information on people in the samples shows that those in the three groups who responded were generally fairly representative in terms of their sex, age, region, profession, and type of post within the institute of higher education (see Appendix 2 for relevant information on the questionnaires). The content of the investigation included the general state of corruption in higher education, the specific manifestations and causes of corruption, respondents’ personal experiences of corruption and their corresponding attitudes towards corruption, and measures to control corruption. This paper will encompass all these main topics.

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