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More Chinese receive higher education

Zou Shuo
Updated: May 18, 2022 07:20    China Daily

A total of 240 million Chinese people have received higher education as a result of the country's historic strides in tertiary education development over the past decade, a senior education official said on May 17.

Wu Yan, director of the Ministry of Education's department of higher education, said 44.3 million students are attending colleges and universities in China, making it home to the largest higher education system in the world.

The tertiary education gross enrollment rate reached 57.8 percent last year, up 27.8 percentage points from 2012, he said at a news conference highlighting the achievements of China's higher education since the 18th Communist Party of China National Congress in 2012.

On average, people who have recently joined the labor force have received over 13.8 years of education, Wu said.

China has a number of world-class universities, and the nation's higher education development in general is also among the best internationally, he said.

The nation has the largest and best higher education for engineering in the world, nurturing millions of engineers and supporting the country's drive toward becoming the largest manufacturing powerhouse in the world, Wu said.

To better serve national and industry development, 17,000 undergraduate majors have been opened since 2012, while 10,000 have been removed or suspended from enrolling new students, he said.

The country will continue to improve the quality of its higher education institutions, ensure that such education serves major national development strategies and promote the development of universities and colleges with Chinese characteristics, he added.

Wu Zhaohui, president of Zhejiang University, said that in the past 10 years, the university has established cooperation with 37 world-renowned universities, and it now has cooperation with almost 200 universities worldwide.

The university has 61 academicians at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Chinese Academy of Sciences, up from 27 a decade ago, he said, adding that all faculty members with national-level professional titles are required to teach undergraduate courses.

It has also established strategic cooperation agreements with more than 330 State-owned enterprises and leading private enterprises, he said.

Liu Jianlin, director of the Shaanxi Provincial Education Department, said the number of higher education institutions in the province grew from 98 to 111 in the past decade and the number of students increased from 1.37 million to 1.98 million during the period.

Total investment in higher education in the province jumped by 74.2 percent over the decade to 62.7 billion yuan ($9.3 billion), with the average investment on an individual college student reaching 16,800 yuan per year, he said.

Xie Weihe, senior education professor at Tsinghua University, said the overall strength and quality of China's higher education have reached their best level in history.

China's higher education is based on Chinese characteristics and the country holds firm the autonomy of nurturing high-level innovative talent through its higher education system, he said.

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