It's not the first time for Qiu Chengtong, the number-one Chinese mathematician and one of the world's top mathematicians, to enter the public eye. His previous allegation about Tsinghua and Peking Universities mismanaging their power as 'top universities' in the mathematics field, and negatively affecting their counterpart universities, brought him both fame and controversy.
In an interview with the newspaper Nanfang Daily, Qiu Chengtong said the biggest problem existing in Chinese universities is that they attach too much importance to money, rather than research. Qiu even confessed that he is not an expert in education, but is concerned about it.
Qiu strongly opposes education being considered a money-making industry, as they don't have the resources and ability to manage themselves that way. They should focus on their responsibility to cultivate new talents for society. He added that universities are bound to lose money to some extent, so they shouldn't focus their efforts on profit. China is badly in need of qualified graduates these days, so they should get back to the real business of teaching.
Qiu also expressed criticism of the extensive rates of recruitment by domestic universities since 1999. He suggests that China should learn from the US, and provide a variety of education options including vocational programs, like those offered by state colleges.
He also thinks it's good that Hong Kong University is coming to the mainland to recruit top students, because this kind of competition urges improvement.
(CRI September 4, 2006)