China / Society

College punished over test scandal

By Zhao Xinying (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-03 03:35

The Ministry of Education said on Sunday that it had applied to the Academic Degree Commission under the State Council to cancel Harbin University of Science and Technology's qualifications for issuing master's degrees in business administration, because of a cheating scandal that occurred during the university's graduate candidate test in January.

On its website, the Ministry of Education said the university also will have to cut the number of graduate students it recruits from 2015, and it has been urged to reflect on and overhaul its recruiting process to ensure equity in exams and recruitment.

In January, 20 students were found to have cheated in entrance exams for the university's MBA course. The scandal caught the attention of people across the country.

Wang Haiyu, director of the MBA recruiting office at the university, and a total of 1.5 million yuan ($244,050) were involved in the scandal.

After a month of investigations, in February, Wang and eight other people from Beijing and Harbin's graduate candidate test training schools, were detained in connection with the case. Additionally, equipment used for cheating in the exams was seized, according to education authorities in Heilongjiang province, where the university is located.

On Sunday, the Heilongjiang education authorities said that the exam results of the 20 students who cheated had been canceled, and these students had been suspended from taking any exams for three years.

Some authorities and staff members of the university who were involved were held accountable and punished. Some, including a vice-president, were given a demerit record, while others, such as vice-president of the university's Graduate School and president of the university's school of management, were dismissed from their posts.

The Ministry of Education said improper behavior during exams, such as cheating, will be strictly punished with zero tolerance, and all universities across China should learn from the case and ensure transparency and equity in recruiting graduate students.

The handling of the case was praised by education experts.

Xiong Bingqi, who is vice-president of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, praised the Ministry of Education for dealing with the case in a timely and transparent way.

"We can see that the Ministry of Education attaches great importance to the justice and equity of exams and leaves no space for improper behavior like cheating," he said.

"The handling of this case set a good example for dealing with similar cases in the future: Not only those who were directly involved in this case but also top leaders of the university were punished."

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