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Guideline sets college evaluation criteria

Author  :  ZOU SHUO     Source  :    China Daily     2021-03-24

Top universities in China should be evaluated based on talent cultivation and scientific research, rather than solely on rankings and other quantitative measures, a new draft guideline said on Tuesday.

As the country aims to build a number of world-class universities and disciplines by midcentury, the guideline said universities should focus on making breakthroughs in core technology, exploring advanced scientific areas and solving important social issues. The emphasis should be on achieving major results in original basic research.

They should focus on frontier areas in global scientific and technological development, major national development needs and public health, said the guideline, jointly issued by the ministries of education and finance and the National Development and Reform Commission.

In 2017, China released a list of 42 universities that would be developed into world-class educational institutions and 95 universities that would focus on building their main disciplines into first-rate ones.

The guideline sets the evaluation standards for the universities. For every five-year cycle, universities should conduct self-evaluation at the midpoint and authorities and third-party organizations will conduct comprehensive evaluations of the universities and report the results to the State Council, China's Cabinet, at the end of the cycle, it said. A university's performance in the evaluation will determine whether it will receive more support from the authorities or be removed from the list.

The guideline said talent cultivation is the most fundamental standard in the evaluation, which focuses on universities' efforts in teaching, innovation and entrepreneurship education, the employment quality of graduates and the all-around development of students.

For faculty evaluation, the guideline stressed the importance of work ethics, research achievements, teaching, and professional development. The evaluation should not overemphasize the number of papers and professional titles, or academic backgrounds and research projects.

The evaluation of universities' scientific research should focus on original research and major breakthroughs in core technologies, it said. The guideline also stressed the evaluation of social service, cultural heritage inheritance and international cooperation.

Xu Ningsheng, president of Fudan University in Shanghai, said top universities in China should aim to nurture world-class talent, academic results and disciplines to meet the country's strategic needs.

Universities and their academic faculty and students are a key part of the country's innovation system and task force and they should shoulder the responsibility of offering more support for interdisciplinary research and scientists in cutting-edge areas and cultivate more leading scientists and world-class research teams.

Zhang Pingwen, vice-president of Peking University, said that while China has the world's largest higher education system, the expansion in scale does not mean similar growth in education quality and efficacy.

Existing global university ranking systems generally focus on science and engineering and overlook social sciences, he said, and the guideline has stressed the importance of building philosophy and social science subjects and systems with Chinese characteristics.




Editor: Yu Hui

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