CityU audit amid data-rigging claims

Top News | Phoenix Un Nov 14, 2017
Allegations that City University rigged student numbers to lift its international ranking will be investigated by an auditor, according to president Kuo Way.

A report accused CityU of submitting lower student numbers to Quacquarelli Symonds, an international firm specializing in overseas study, in order to lower its teacher-to-student numbers and lift its international ranking.

If true, this cheating would have boosted its score in the "faculty student" item on the marking scheme.

Since the 2015-16 school year, the student numbers CityU submitted to QS and the University Grants Committee have not matched, the report said.

In 2015-16 it reported it had 10,245 students to QS when it had 12,006, while for the next school year, it reported 9,307 to QS but had 12,822, the report said.

CityU reported only 9,240 students to QS for this school year, more than 30 percent below the UGC figure of 13,283.

In the QS ranking for 2018 CityU scored 83.6 in the faculty student item - second among all local universities, just behind University of Hong Kong, which scored 85.3. CityU also saw its overall standing improve to No 49 in 2018 compared with 55 in 2017.

The report quoted management staff from other universities as saying that doubts emerged after CityU submitted its student number during the summer break, when freshman students had not yet enrolled.

In response, Kuo said the university will commission an accounting firm to run an independent audit.

A spokesman said CityU "strongly opposed" the allegations, which contained "gross inaccuracies."

Another spokesman said: "CityU's submissions were confirmed to be accurate by QS based on QS's own audit."

He added data on student numbers submitted by all Hong Kong universities vary and are different from those submitted to UGC due to different definitions and operating modes used.

John Tse Wing-ling, a member of the CityU Council said on a radio program: "Integrity is most important for a university and there should be no room for tricks."

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