15 Jiangsu universities selected for China's "double first-class" plan
The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance and National Development and Reform Commission jointly release the "Double First-class" plan on Sept 21, which aims to develop an elite group of world-class higher education institutions and programs by 2020. [Photo by Chen Dong/bjnews.com.cn]
Fifteen universities in East China’s Jiangsu province have been included in China’s “Double First-class” plan aiming to nurture an elite group of world-leading Chinese higher education institutions, according to a government document published on Sept 21.
The plan, which is being launched by China’s Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and National Development and Reform Commission, is designed to turn China into a world leader in university education by 2020.
It aims to foster 42 first-class universities and 95 first-class university programs by the end of the decade, hence the name “Double First-class”. First-class means that the institution or program should be among the best in the world in its field.
Nanjing University and Southeast University were named among the 42 universities that will be given special support to develop into world-class centers of higher education.
Another 13 Jiangsu-based universities, including Soochow University, Hohai University, Jiangnan University, and China University of Mining and Technology, have been selected to develop world-class programs in specific disciplines.
The institutions included in the new plan were selected after a process of peer competition, expert review and government evaluation.
According to the authorities, being world-class is not a fixed status, thus the universities will receive dynamic monitoring and management.
Ge Daokai, director-general of the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education, said that Jiangsu has always been eager to enhance its power in higher education.
“World-class institutions can generate huge value and scientific breakthroughs, which will then play an active role in propelling local innovative economic development,” Ge said.
According to the director-general, Jiangsu’s efforts to develop top-tier institutions follows a “4+1+1” strategy.
The “4” stands for development plans of preponderant disciplines, specially-appointed professors, interschool innovative explorations, and branded majors, while the two “1”s stand for a financial support system and a major support system for Jiangsu institutions ranked among China’s top 100.
Officials from the listed universities expressed their confidence in rising to the challenge of being included in the plan.
A spokesperson from Nanjing University of Astronautics and Aeronautics said that the school would strive to develop an integrated program with mechanical engineering as the foundation, which also includes courses in astronautics and engineering, telecommunications and material science.
An official from Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, which has been selected to develop a first-class program in atmospheric science, said that all the students and teachers were excited by the news.
“It’s an exciting challenge after our years of dedication to develop the course,” the official said.
The “Double First-class” plan supersedes the “211” and “985” plans, which have guided reform in China’s higher education sector since the 1990s.