College Education Reform Needed

Mr. Hou Jiechang, the president of Wuhan University, is calling for a deeper reform of college education.

During the ongoing session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, Hou said change and development in society have required multi-edged professionals able to meet challenges, seize opportunities and make greater contributions to the country.

As China shifts from a planned to a market economy, multi-purposed talents should be cultivated instead of continuing to rely on one-discipline education. The university should be a place for students not only to gain knowledge, but to hone team work capability.

Hou added that a complete system involving teachers, engineers, financiers, etc, should team together to work out a quicker way turning academic achievements into productive forces. Otherwise, there would be a great waste in research funds and human resources, since academic results and patents might be outdated in just several years.

The Donghu Hi-tech Development Zone in Wuhan City, for example, is one of the first group hi-tech zones in China that works closely with universities to market the results of academic research.

College teachers’ social status should be respected and their pay decent to encourage their drive for research. A free academic atmosphere should be created to encourage creativity and academic exchanges.

President Hou also stressed a more scientific curriculum be set up in universities to equip students with more knowledge within the limited school years while leaving them freedom in choosing courses.

On the current university merging trend, he felt it was good, but not the only way to better college education. Mergers, however, might complement features among universities.

(CIIC by Guo Xiaohong 03/15/2001)