Students participate in Running Man, a competition at Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen. [Photo/China Daily]
July 27, 2016
Editor's Note: China Daily is publishing a series of reports on universities jointly established by education institutions from China and overseas. As the colleges get busy with recruitment, our reporters visited them to talk with principals, teachers and students.
The establishment of an international institution of higher education in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, plays a vital role in the local economic transition, according to a key educator.
"After years of rapid industrial expansion after China's reform and opening-up in the 1980s, Shenzhen needs an international university that will support its economic transition by offering high-end talent and research, especially in technology and the innovation sector," said Xu Yangsheng, president of Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.
Before the concept for the university took root in 2011, Xu had conducted a coverage survey of higher education institutions across the Chinese mainland.
"In China's most dynamic areas－the Bohai Gulf, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta－we found Shenzhen measured near zero for international higher education and even technology research organizations," he said.
Shenzhen, a former fishing village, has grown into a testing ground for China's reform and opening-up policy since it was approved as the country's first special economic zone in the late 1970s.
"After decades of industrial expansion, the city's economy needs to be upgraded, and a leading university with strong technology research capabilities will be of great importance to the local economic transition," Xu said in a recent interview with China Daily.
"We have been committed to creating new knowledge with innovative thinking, while preserving and promoting traditional Chinese culture, since the university opened in September 2014," he said.
According to Xu, students are required to finish their studies in traditional literature, such as Confucius, and receive English-language instruction during a four-year program.
"Students are also required to study and live together with international students, as we stress the importance of academic links and global perspectives," Xu said.
The university will recruit more international students in coming years, he said. Currently it includes about 20 students from India, Germany and Russia.
The university now offers programs in some emerging areas including international finance and commerce, marketing, communication and electronic engineering.
"The programs are designed to develop more talent in the emerging sectors, which are of importance to the economic transition of Shenzhen and the Pearl River Delta," Xu said.
He said the university will launch several new programs this year, including statistics, accounting and big data.
"We have taken the local economic situation and the global industrial trend into serious consideration when offering new programs. We are determined to create talent to fill urgent needs in the delta," Xu said.
To address the needs of the nation and the region for emerging and strategic industries, the university is planning to form a team of international experts to forge a platform for international technology innovation in robotics, big data, new energy, finance and logistics.
Construction of a series of state-of-the art research centers and labs is underway, including laboratories working with micro-nano materials, Xu said.
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