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Distinctive disciplines play key role in promoting university's global influence

By Chen Ziyan | | Updated: 2017-03-08 10:27

Distinctive disciplines play key role in promoting university's global influence

Zhang Qianhong, NPC deputy and also the vice-president of Zhengzhou University. [Photo provided by Zhang Qianhong]

To achieve greater progress in the education sector, the institutions of learning need a global outlook with Chinese characteristics, according to Zhang Qianhong, NPC deputy and the vice-president of Zhengzhou University in Central China's Henan province.

"The further development of the country's higher education sector needs internationalization, while keeping the Chinese characteristic," Zhang said.

"Only a scientific and rational education system with the involvement of more universities and colleges, featuring local distinctive disciplines can improve the quality of our education," she said in an interview with on March 7 in Beijing, during the ongoing two sessions - the annual gathering of the nation's top legislature and its top political advisory body.

"Apart from focusing on distinctive disciplines, more private investment as well as an orderly flow of talented teachers can also play positive role in guaranteeing the improvement of higher education," Zhang added in reference to the building of "double first-class"- a strategy –that aims to develop world-class universities and first-class disciplines.

Among the listed 129 colleges and universities in Henan province, only Zhengzhou University features in the "211 Project", a major plan that China has carried out since the end of the last century to build key universities. Currently, 27.65 million students are studying in universities across the province.

"Henan has the third-largest number of enrolled students in the country, but lack of high-quality resources means it has been at a disadvantage in the country's whole higher education system for a long time," Zhang said.

But a lot has been achieved in recent years, with 3 billion yuan distributed by the local government as subsidy to colleges and universities since 2015 to better support the distinctive disciplines.

According to Zhang, seven natural disciplines taught at Henan universities and colleges, including four at Zhengzhou University, have been ranked among the top 1-percent in ESI (Essential Science Indicators).

"In addition, humanities are also a key discipline we've been promoting," said Zhang. "Humanities are indispensable for universities to improving their influence in the world." She said.

Established in 2001, a cluster of distinctive disciplines specializing in the history of Henan province, also known as the Central Plain, was set up by Zhengzhou University, for the research of Chinese civilization.

"The implementation of 'double first-class' is a great opportunity for Henan to further develop its higher education," Zhang said.

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