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2020-07-06 09:48:22

China’s top education authority is planning to crack down on dubious data provided by schools regarding their graduate work placements to ensure an authentic employment rate, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Sunday.

The Ministry of Education has ordered all tertiary schools to report mistakes in graduate employment data they provided to the government by Saturday, according to the report. The review is scheduled to be completed after two rounds of inspections in June and August.

The ministry said that any numbers found to be incorrect will be considered unscrupulous and subject to heavy punishment, without elaborating. Last month, the education authority started reviewing the employment data of this year’s graduates to “get an accurate grasp of graduates’ employment situations.”

Authorities will check with graduates and their employers to ascertain whether the official information is consistent with reality, according to the ministry. Graduates are also encouraged to check their information on a government-operated platform and report any potential discrepancies.

The review comes as China faces its grimmest graduation season in years, with the country’s economy trying to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. To accommodate an estimated 8.7 million graduates this year, authorities have expanded employment standards, with bloggers on social media platforms and e-sports athletes now being classified as “employed.”

This is not the first time Chinese education authorities have addressed fraudulent graduation employment data. Previously, schools have been caught submitting inflated numbers and forcing students to sign employment contracts, as their graduates’ employment and unemployment rates may affect future enrollment quotas.

Amid a shrinking job market and unprecedented competition, authorities are now tasking universities with helping graduates find jobs. In June, eastern China’s Fujian province asked its colleges and universities to ensure that at least 70% of their fresh graduates are employed by September.

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: University graduates speak to prospective employers during a job fair in Shanghai, June 22, 2020. People Visual)