China is getting tough with universities that fail to meet established criteria for awarding doctorates and is to standardise the appraisal system for degrees later this year.
There are 2,500 research programmes running in China, all of which have been regularly inspected by the academic degrees committee over the past decade. Earlier this year the committee inspected 259 doctoral programmes in mathematics, chemistry, mechanics, electronics and computer science.
Of those checked, 240 programmes (94.2 per cent) met the standards. Institutions that did not were to be "punished", said a committee official.
For failing to produce any research findings in the past five years, departments in Shanghai University, Beijing Normal University and the Software Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have been told they are no longer authorised to issue doctorate degrees nor recruit students for this level. They may re-apply for authorisation in two years. The committee is to issue a regulation later this year to standardise the appraisal system of doctorate degrees.
It aims to upgrade the quality of China's doctorate students by encouraging all institutions offering doctorate courses to try to improve the quality of their management and teaching.
Current appraisal standards were established in 1981.