The nation's coastal economic center will continue to lead China's education reform after gaining further backing from the Ministry of Education.
Shanghai has been given permission to approve the establishment of new schools, new majors and enrollment plans of colleges and universities in the city, confirmed an unnamed publicity official from the Shanghai Educational Commission.
The authorization also extends to the establishment of Sino-foreign institutions of higher learning.
The publicity official said the Shanghai sanction showed the trust and expectations of the central government towards the city, which is pushing to become an international center for finance, economics, trade and shipping in the new century.
It also complies with Shanghai's strategy of rejuvenating itself through science and education, as the reform will create a stronger intelligence base.
The publicity official said Shanghai was leading the country in education reform and Vice-Premier Li Lanqing said in 1999 that the central government would give all support necessary to the city to further the push.
In the early 1990s, the ministry handed Shanghai the right to organize independent entrance examinations for colleges and to set up trial enrollments.
Last October, the local education commission presented a comprehensive reform plan to the ministry, which preceded the latest approval.
"It is good news for the city and schools as well because in this way, we will be able to better control the arrangement of majors and the number of enrollments in accordance with social demand," Shanghai Jiaotong University's unnamed enrollment office director said.
The university, together with six others in the country, had been authorized to set up majors independently as of February last year.
The office director said since 2002, the school had started offering several new majors such as software engineering, biological information, optical information science and technology, and clinical medicine.
"More freedom means more obligation. Schools are urged to publicize detailed procedures, standards and results of enrollment to ensure fairness, justice and transparency," he said.
(China Daily March 5, 2003)