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China emphasizes quality of higher education
Latest Updated by 2007-01-29 09:43:45

China's Ministry of Education has launched a nationwide project with 320 million U.S. dollars in government funding to improve the teaching quality of undergraduate education.


"This is the largest financial input that China has ever made to improve the quality of higher education," the Beijing News reported.


The funding, to cover the next four years, will mainly be used to adjust the structure of disciplines, improve teaching programs and materials and strenghthen universities' teaching capacities.


The project included sponsoring 15,000 university students conducting innovative experimental projects and awarding 500 outstanding teachers annually, said Zhang Yaoxue, director of the ministry's Department of Higher Education.


It would also sponsor 3,000 staff in teaching or management in short-term work for universities in west China, where teaching resources were limited, Zhang said.


Universities were also invited to tender for the compilation of 10,000 high-quality textbooks, Zhang said.


China's higher educational institutions have been expanding rapidly following the government's decision to enroll more university students in 1999. The country has 23 million on-campus students, more than triple of the number in 1998.


Experts said that though the expansion enabled more people to enter the college, it has also led to the decline of teaching standards. Students face out-dated teaching methods, insufficient funding, and a lack of job opportunities on graduation.


Alarmed by the situation, the State Council, China's cabinet, ordered universities in 2006 to focus on improving teaching standards and listed "improving teaching standards" as a goal in its 11th five-year plan (2006-2010).


The ministry hoped the project could optimize the structure of disciplines, which could better meet social demands, and improve students' creativity.


"Undergraduate education is the most important part of higher education. Only if the quality of undergraduate education improves, can higher education produce more leading professionals for the country's development," Zhang said.


Editor: Wing

By: Source:China View website
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