Overseas Textbooks Find Favor With Chinese Universities

More than 2,700 imported original textbooks are currently on display on the campus of Shanghai University. This was disclosed by Teng Chuanfu, chief of the textbook section of the Book Department of the China National Publications Import & Export Co. (CNPIEC), who said the textbooks, including those used in the universities of Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge, cover the social sciences, management science and some aspects of science and technology. Shanghai is the fourth stop on the book exhibition tour of China this winter.

Teng said CNPIEC first put displayed original textbooks used in overseas universities at the International Books Fair held in Beijing last September, and they found favor in the eyes of visitors. This shows that Chinese textbooks have lagged far behind the development of higher education. And there is a need for urgent reform, he said.

“As some domestic textbooks have outdated contents, and cannot catch up with the development of frontier sciences, we have to introduce certain foreign original textbooks to enhance our knowledge of the world,” said the Dean of Studies of Tsinghua University in Beijing.

The university library spends 20-30 percent more annually on imported textbooks and reference books than on Chinese publications. A total of 54 courses are now given in English. Tsinghua plans to adopt the curriculum textbooks of famous overseas universities as reference for some 500 core curricula out of the existing 1,440 courses it offers.

During the current exhibition tour, quite a number of colleges and universities have shown their intention to buy some of the books. Xi’an Jiaotong University has signed a purchase contract on a set of computer textbooks published by McGraw-Hill Int’l Enterprises Inc., for example.

(CIIC 12/20/2000)

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