“The New York Times” is reporting on a bribery scandal in China concerning the Gaokao, the all-important test that determine’s one’s college admissions fate if a student wishes to attend university within China. It should come as no surprise to our readers that there are allegations the entire system of university admission in China, one heavily dependent upon this test, is corrupt, that wealthy Chinese citizens can bribe admissions officials so their children are able to earn admission, in some cases irrespective of Gaokao scores. Not to be confused with Geico, the car insurance company in America with its ubiquitous, rather annoying frog.
As reported by Michael Forsythe in a piece on bribery and university admission in China, “The children of the wealthy and well-connected in China enjoy enormous educational advantages, gaining access to elite kindergartens, primary schools and tutors beyond the reach of most Chinese families. But strict meritocracy was thought to reign at one crucial stage: college admission. To gain a spot in a top Chinese university and a ticket to a prosperous life afterward, a student needed a high score on the country’s famously difficult national college entrance examination, not a father with a thick wallet. Or so most people thought until Thursday, when a confession to bribery by Cai Rongsheng, the former admissions director for Renmin University, called the integrity of the system into question. Mr. Cai, 50, acknowledged to a court in Nanjing, where he is on trial, that he had accepted more than $3.6 million in illegal payments between 2005 to 2013, in exchange for helping 44 students obtain spots at Renmin, a prestigious school in Beijing.”
The wealthy sure do have an advantage in the college admissions system in America. But in China, the advantage is even more blatant. And so is the bribery.
While the practice of Affirmative Action will be debated before our nation’s highest court in short order, while many will question the merits of the SAT and ACT (and all standardized testing for that matter), while we will debate if legacy admission should still exist in this young century, at least our American system of university admission isn’t plagued by bribery. Do the children of the wealthy have an advantage in America? You bet and anyone who should suggest otherwise simply doesn’t get the process. Do the children of major donors (development cases) have a significant advantage? You bet. But it’s not blatant bribery as it is in this case in China. Because this is quite blatant indeed.