Univer­sity pres­i­dent shares vi­sion

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By QIUQUANLIN in Shen­zhen qiuquanlin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China Daily is pub­lish­ing a se­ries of re­ports on uni­ver­si­ties jointly es­tab­lished by ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions from China and overseas. As the col­leges get busy with re­cruit­ment, our re­porters vis­ited them to talk with prin­ci­pals, teach­ers and stu­dents.

The es­tab­lish­ment of an in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tion of higher ed­u­ca­tion in Shen­zhen, Guang­dong prov­ince, plays a vi­tal role in the lo­cal eco­nomic tran­si­tion, ac­cord­ing to a key ed­u­ca­tor.

“Af­ter years of rapid in­dus­trial ex­pan­sion af­ter China’s re­form and opening-up in the 1980s, Shen­zhen needs an in­ter­na­tional univer­sity that will sup­port its eco­nomic tran­si­tion by of­fer­ing high­end tal­ent and re­search, es­pe­cially in tech­nol­ogy and the in­no­va­tion sec­tor,” said Xu Yang­sheng, pres­i­dent of Chi­nese Univer­sity of Hong Kong, Shen­zhen.

Be­fore the con­cept for the univer­sity took root in 2011, Xu had con­ducted a cov­er­age sur­vey of higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions across the Chi­nese main­land.

“In China’s most dy­namic ar­eas — the Bo­hai Gulf, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta — we found Shen­zhen mea­sured near zero for in­ter­na­tional higher ed­u­ca­tion and even tech­nol­ogy re­search or­ga­ni­za­tions,” he said.

Shen­zhen, a for­mer fish­ing vil­lage, has grown into a test­ing ground for China’s re­form an­dopen­ing-up pol­icy since it was ap­proved as the coun­try’s first spe­cial eco­nomic zone in the late 1970s.

“Af­ter decades of in­dus­trial ex­pan­sion, the city’s econ­omy needs to be up­graded, and a lead­ing univer­sity with strong tech­nol­ogy re­search ca­pa­bil­i­ties will be of great im­por­tance to the lo­cal eco­nomic tran­si­tion,” Xu­said in a re­cent in­ter­view with China Daily.

“We have been com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing new knowl­edge with in­no­va­tive think­ing, while pre­serv­ing and pro­mot­ing tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture, since the univer­sity opened in Septem­ber 2014,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Xu, stu­dents are re­quired to fin­ish their stud­ies in tra­di­tional lit­er­a­ture, such as Con­fu­cius, and re­ceive English-lan­guage in­struc­tion dur­ing a four-year pro­gram.

“Stu­dents are also re­quired to study and live to­gether with in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, aswestress the im­por­tance of aca­demic links and global per­spec­tives,” Xu said.

The univer­sity will re­cruit more in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in com­ing years, he said. Cur­rently it in­cludes about 20 stu­dents from In­dia, Ger­many and Russia.

The univer­sity now of­fers pro­grams in some emerg­ing ar­eas in­clud­ing in­ter­na­tional fi­nance and com­merce, mar­ket­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and elec­tronic en­gi­neer­ing.

“The pro­grams are de­signed to de­velop more tal­ent in the emerg­ing sec­tors, which are of im­por­tance to the eco­nomic tran­si­tion of Shen­zhen and the Pearl River Delta,” Xu said.

He said the univer­sity will launch sev­eral new pro­grams this year, in­clud­ing sta­tis­tics, ac­count­ing and big data.

“We have taken the lo­cal eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion and the global in­dus­trial trend into se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion when of­fer­ing new pro­grams. We are de­ter­mined to cre­ate tal­ent to fill ur­gent needs in the delta,” Xu said.

To ad­dress the needs of the na­tion and the re­gion for emerg­ing and strate­gic in­dus­tries, the univer­sity is plan­ning to form a team of in­ter­na­tional ex­perts to forge a plat­form for in­ter­na­tional tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion in ro­bot­ics, big data, new en­ergy, fi­nance and lo­gis­tics.

Construction of a se­ries of state-of-the art re­search cen­ters and labs is un­der­way, in­clud­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries work­ing with mi­cro-nano ma­te­ri­als, Xu said.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in Run­ning Man, a com­pe­ti­tion at Chi­nese Univer­sity of Hong Kong, Shen­zhen.

Xu Yang­sheng

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