Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Living and Working in China- Chinese Universities

Posted by w_thames_the_d on July 28, 2010

I have lived and worked in China for 2.5 years now, I have also taught at two different universities for 1.5 years. What I have seen in Chinese education is appalling.
Dont get me wrong, I am no teaching virgin, I have an extensive background in teaching at universities (mostly part-time) as in China and have seen some pretty sketchy practices by schools and students. I have taught in almost a half dozen places in Latin America as one in the USA, and thought I had seen it all, but then I came to china.
Usually I teach management classes or marketing, things like that, so that is what I did here. While here, I had the opportunity to teach at one of the better universities and one of marginal acclaim. The system of education in China is broken and beyond repair.
The corruption is endemic, the students level of English (I taught programs geared for students to study abroad), was woefully inadequate, and the universities had no desire to see the students improve, but merely to pay a fee and leave the school.
In China, at two different universities I have seen:
1-one students mom had offered to pain the school as her precious little daughter did not like the color of the walls and felt it affected her studies
2- one student pissed off her roommates as she would only bathe 1 every two weeks as her mother, a doctor said that to do so more often was bad for her health
3- I was told to change grades by one school administrator
4- I was told that my employment was predicated on my passing students
5-I flunked two students only to have them miraculously receive a passing mark, that I did not give
6-I have seen cheating at an incredible level

I have many Mexican friends and have also taught there, and I can honestly say that the level of cheating in Chinese institutions rivals that which I have seen in any other country. In reality it is a disaster. I can understand peeking at someones exam, but the levels to which they stoop her is incredible.

2 Responses to “Living and Working in China- Chinese Universities”

  1. Michael E Piston said

    the students level of English …, was woefully inadequate.

    Really? As bad as American student’s level of Chinese (or any other foreign language for that matter)?

    What second language do you speak, and how well? Enough to get top grades in a graduate school taught exclusively in that language (as so many Chinese students in the U.S. do – many of them even graduating from law school)?

    You can sneer at China for many things, but please, not their English. At least their trying to learn a 2nd language, for goodness sake.

    • wtdevflnt said

      Thanks for the comment. I will say that I agree with you in general and the Chinese do kick ass in terms of their language abilities. My comment was more of an indictment on the wealthy one child policy students who go overseas. In my experience in China, the best students either stay here or go to the most exclusive schools, due to face, the others go to some crappy US or Australian school. These students have a level of English that is pathetic. I say this from my personal experience in China in several programs for people who will study in the USA. It is odd, I can talk to a cabbie in Beijing, talk about politics, Obama , Mao etc. And yet many of these students cannot even conjugate the verb ‘to be’. But in general I would agree with you.
      (And for an aside, in terms of your comment ‘graduating from law school’. I also have met many of them who have now returned to the USA after studying abroad and I maintain that their English (spoken) is quite poor. Chinese are known for a great memory and understanding grammar, but are not known for analytical nor speaking skills. The best English speakers I have interviewed in China have never left the country, to me this is odd. )
      As for my Chinese, it is horrible and I could not enter a kindergarten with it.

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