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Legislators call for enhanced effort to invigorate higher education
Posted: September-2-2016Adjust font size:

BEIJING, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Chinese lawmakers applauded the significant progress made in higher education but stressed the need for more effective measures to tackle limitations to long-term development.

During panel deliberations on Thursday afternoon, the legislators discussed a report on higher education reform in China, and agreed that problems such as imbalances in resources and a lack of quality staff, should be addressed.

The report was submitted Wednesday to the ongoing bimonthly session of the National People' s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, China's top legislature, for review.


Access to higher education has expanded constantly, with 36.5 million students receiving higher education in 2015, an increase of 17.5 percent from 2010, China's education minister, Chen Baosheng, told the legislators.

The gross enrollment ratio for higher education, a gauge of education opportunities, was 40 percent in 2015, 13.5 percentage points higher than in 2010, exceeding the average level of medium-to-high income countries, Chen said.

However, some lawmakers pointed out that special attention should be given to the figures of the central and western regions, short of educational resources.

According to Chen's report, in the last five years, the government has spent 10 billion yuan (about 1.5 billion U.S. dollars) on improving the infrastructure and teaching quality of 100 colleges and universities in the central and western regions.

Also, this year, 5.6 billion yuan has been spent on establishing national universities in 13 provinces and autonomous regions that used to only have provincial-level ones.

"Those provinces and regions, most of which sit along the border and are inhabited by ethnic minorities, occupy 66 percent of China's land area and 34 percent of the total population. It remains an urgent task for planning authorities to allocate more resources to address the imbalance," legislator Long Zhuangwei said during discussion.


New majors catering to strategic emerging industries and poverty relief have been set up in universities. They include cyberspace security, Internet of things and big data, said the education minister.

On Wednesday, the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences established the school of future technology, the first of its kind in China, which will focus on studies of advanced subjects, such as brain science, quantum and genome technology.

China has been striving to training more applied graduates via cooperation between universities and enterprises. More than 200 colleges and universities have programs in partnership with domestic and foreign companies, including Alibaba, Tencent and Intel.

Impressed by the progress, some lawmakers still called for improved measures to ensure college education serves the needs of social and economic development.

Lawmaker Si Jianmin suggested central education authorities give more freedom to universities in regard to majors.

"Students should be encouraged to choose majors according to social needs as well as individual interest after receiving general education in the first year of college," said Si.

Some legislator said that the government should make specific rules on internships.

At present, the higher education scheme in China does not guarantee enough time for students to work as interns before graduation, said lawmaker Shen Chunyao. "Internship for a month or two won't help the students really understand the industries they are going to work in."

Also on Thursday afternoon, top legislator Zhang Dejiang presided over a meeting of NPC Standing Committee's chairman and vice chairpersons.

The attendees of the meeting were briefed on reports on the reviews of the draft law on national defense transportation and the draft amendments to the law on foreign-invested companies, among others.

Source: xinhua 2016-09-02Editor: tracyliu
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