Institutions of higher education should reflect on the chronic illness of administrative power prevailing in the academic arena, says an editorial in China Business News. An excerpt follows:
Zhang Ming, a professor of politics at Renmin University of China, was removed as department head and may lose his teaching position because of his conflicts with the dean of the School of International Studies. This has been the hottest topic in education.
So far public opinion is divided due to lack of adequate information. We hold that the involved university departments should carry out a thorough investigation to establish the facts and calm the chaos.
Professor Zhang says the conflicts were not rooted in personal resentment but were caused by disagreements over the meaning of "administrative academics". If this is true, we need to reflect on whether administrative power has become too powerful in China's academic world. It would be regrettable if a professor has to leave his university job because of conflicts with his boss.
There are 25 million students of higher education on campus today.
In this year's government work report delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao, he mentioned various measures the government has taken to develop education. In a work meeting last November, the premier also expressed his concern over producing an increasing number of qualified personnel. It is not enough to expand enrollment and increase hardware. The key point should be building an open culture on campus.
Netizens had a lively response to the premier's worries. Many mentioned the need to reform the system of educational management. They wanted more academic power and less administrative power in education.
On many campuses administrative power prevails over academics. Academic committees remain dormant while administrative departments decide almost everything. Administrative power controls the allocation of all resources.
(China Daily March 26, 2007)