A party publication has accused local party schools of providing cadres with substandard courses amid a nationwide campaign to stamp out malpractices in higher education. The December issue of China Comment - a magazine run by Xinhua - blasted party schools for profiteering at the expense of academic excellence, and said some had veered completely from their mission of education. Party schools are supposed to train cadres to understand the party's thinking and policies, so they toe the party line in their jobs. The schools are seen as a cradle for the future leaders of China. Vice-President Hu Jintao is the president of the Central Party School. The magazine said the schools were not being sufficiently choosy about who they admitted as they were more concerned about profit through larger numbers of students. Citing a survey, the magazine said 92 per cent of party school applicants were incumbent cadres who had enrolled to study for a diploma making them eligible for further promotion. The magazine did not say when the survey was carried out or by whom. To improve the intellectual calibre of its civil service, the central Government has insisted over the past decade that all leading cadres at local level have a university degree. Skimping on teaching time, abuse of public money, and cheating by students were widespread, the magazine alleged. It said the schools' course design only allowed two days to study a 600-page textbook. Cadres would take fellow students out for a banquet during class hours using public funds 'to get to know one another'. Cheating was also common during exams. It was alleged that in one case teachers even deliberately failed students who were not leading-rank cadres as they had been given a quota of how many they had to fail. The essay, which was not available on the publication's Web site, was published in Friday's China Economic Times Daily. A Central Party School staff member said the report was exaggerated. He said the schools managed the courses strictly.