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The Department of Higher Education of the Chinese Ministry of Education issued a work plan for 2011 in late February, highlighting key areas for higher education reforms at national and provincial levels. The work plan is addressed to China’s provincial higher education authorities and calls, among other things, for local support to implement the “Outline of China’s National Plan for Medium and Long-term Education Reform and Development (2010-2020)”, the introduction of innovative models in manpower planning and development, the enhancement of teaching-learning activities and the construction of a quality assurance system.
Emphasis has been placed on training professionals and graduates to meet the needs most critical to China’s socio-economic development. Using as a model the “Outstanding Engineering Education and Training Scheme” (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, January 2011), agricultural science education, medical education and legal education should develop similar academic-industry cooperation activities to foster practical training and joint development of professional standards. The role of higher education in undergraduate teaching and learning is also highlighted in the work plan, alongside the priority to further develop an evaluation system for teaching quality. In terms of internationalisation, English-taught programmes will continue to expand and the international orientation of legal and engineering education programmes will be introduced in the context of the above-mentioned professional education schemes.
The announcement of the work plan preceded China’s 12th Five-Year Plan adopted in early March this year. Around the same time, China reported that the student population in the country’s higher education institutions reached 31 million and that both the numbers of Chinese students studying abroad (1 273 200) and foreign students studying in China (260 000) were at record highs in 2010. In anticipation of enrolling more foreign students, the third batch of higher education institutions set to offer English-taught programmes was also approved by the Ministry of Education recently in March.
Ministry of Education, Department of Higher Education - work plan (in Chinese)