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'Historical opportunity' for regional college under new policy

By Jiang Xingguang | | Updated: 2017-03-08 15:35

'Historical opportunity' for regional college under new policy

Song Chunpeng of Henan University, who is also a CPPCC National Committee member. [Photo provided to]

Song Chunpeng, a CPPCC National Committee member and vice president of Henan University, described regional universities' catching up with national comprehensive ones following the implementation of the "double first-class university" concept as a historic opportunity in an exclusive interview with on March 7.

The term "double first-class university" refers to the building of "world-class university" and "first-class discipline", a strategy approved by China's deepening national reform leading group in 2016 as part of a new impetus for the development of higher education sector.

"At this stage, regions without adequate talent in higher learning cannot easily fulfill the transformation of their economic development pattern," added Song, who is also one of China's leading experts in biology as deputy director of the Chinese Society for Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology.

The two sessions -- the annual gatherings of the nation's top legislature and its top political advisory body -- started in early March. Some 5,000 participants from the NPC and the CPPCC National Committee are attending the event.

Regional unbalanced development, particularly the unbalanced growth opportunities of colleges and universities, might be well addressed with the "double first-class university" policy, Song said, adding that the key to strengthening the teaching staff - and thus improving competitiveness - lies in world-class talent.

Song noted that the development of Central and Western China should primarily rely on cultivating talent within the region, saying, "My school has already made plans to attract first-class scholars and talents."

Born in the Minquan county of Central China's Henan province, Song noted that Henan University has made great contributions to regional development and China's higher education industry. Henan University is located in Kaifeng, a famous historic city which used to be the capital of China during seven dynasties.

At the beginning of the 20th century, under the influence of Western culture and the impact of the Revolution of 1911, a group of people with ambitious ideals came to Kaifeng and founded the Preparatory School for Further Study in Europe and America, one of the three major schools to prepare students for overseas study at that time, according to the school website.

Song said that advantageous disciplines, such as life sciences, geographic information sciences, material sciences and technology, education, economics and sustainable development and research in the Yellow River civilization, should be strengthened under the new policy. He added that it should not be considered a "poverty relief" policy, but rather one that strengthens that which is good, resilient and valuable.

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