A total of 116 civilian universities in China have trained 65,000 reserve military officers for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the last eight years, in line with the government's strategy of "using science and technology to strengthen the army".
The figures were revealed on Thursday at a conference on training reserve military officers in civilian universities, jointly held by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the PLA General Political Department.
Almost 48,000 Chinese college students are currently training as reserve military officers in civilian schools, more than 10,000 of whom join the army each year, with 80 percent going to the air force, navy, the Second Artillery Force, or strategic troops, including those located in remote and tough areas, the conference heard.
Zhang Haoming, an MOE official, said the training cooperation between the army and local universities started in 2000, and most majors involved were "highly needed" by the PLA.
"Many students trained as reserve military officers have surpassed other students in overall qualities," Zhang said.
According to a PLA "strategic personnel training project" in 2003, more than 60 percent of officers should be "cultivated through civilian education" by 2010.
Liu Bin, director of the officer training bureau under the PLA General Political Department, said universities assigned the task of cultivating military officers had allocated special fund for an all-around education that stressed both academic study and army education.
(Xinhua News Agency December 14, 2007)