No shortcuts to academic excellence
Updated: 2013-11-29 09:54
Companies in Wuhan, Hubei province, whose employees earn the membership of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, will from next year receive an award of 10 million yuan ($1.6 million). Though the aim of the award is to boost the city's engineering (design) sector, the public has raised doubts over the plan, says an article in Legal Daily. Excerpts:
Wuhan is not the first city to announce a huge cash award to encourage companies to cultivate or attract academics. Academics do lead in scientific innovation, research, major scientific projects and talent cultivation, and help promote local economic and social development. But these advantages are not the only reason why cities like Wuhan announce cash awards. In reality, academic-heavy institutes get more science and technology projects and thus more funds, which translate into success if the local government includes names of their academics in its project proposals.
But with the honor and interests of academics closely linked, there is no way one can fool those in charge of the selection system for academics. So local governments, like the one in Wuhan, announce rewards for companies that fulfill their goals instead of making efforts to directly and effectively cultivate academics.
The Wuhan case mirrors the unscientific academic-selection system. Some local governments are prompting academics to find shortcuts to excellence rather than cultivating and/or attracting academics to properly do the job.
It is good to know that the authorities have realized the problems plaguing the system and vowed to launch reforms. Only a thorough "clean-up" of the selection system will stop local governments from announcing cash awards and trying to take shortcuts to academic excellence.
(China Daily 11/29/2013 page9)