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China Universities’ Major Problems is Bureaucracy, Says Professor

Posted by Author on October 26, 2007

ChinaScope Magazine, Mon, 10/22/2007-

“China’s universities look more and more like a bureaucracy,” said Chen Pingyuan, a renowned Beijing University professor. During the Guangzhou University School Culture Building Forum on October 9, 2007, the humanities scholar offered his observations on four major problems facing today’s Chinese universities. Jinan University Party Committee Secretary, Jiang Shuzhuo, and the Dean of Zhongshan University’s School of Humanities, Chen Chunsheng, also attended the Forum. [1]

Chen pointed out that many retired officials from the Ministry of Education and other administrative departments have taken leadership positions in institutions of higher learning. While this has brought in resources and facilitated “getting things done,” (an expression used among mainlanders to imply going through the back door to “get things done), it has made university administration increasingly powerful, “to the point of interfering with the universities’ development.”

Requirements from the government, the media and the people in universities have been overly demanding and have disrupted the pace of universities’ development, according to Chen. “There has been a kind of upwelling of Great-Leap-Forward [2] ideology in universities. Everyone hopes for rapid development.” He proposed that professors and students should be given the time and room to think and to express themselves.

Chen also stated his personal belief that second-class rather than first-class scholars should be university presidents. He explained, “When a person reaches the zenith of his profession, he will have a blind spot.” Such a person may easily be self-willed and prejudiced, and it will be very difficult for him/her to support other fields of studies.

Chen also expressed that over secularization is another major problem. He cited a loss of school culture. “Today, there are few ways for faculty and students to participate together in activities on campus. A disconnect between the faculty and students is a major problem.”

Zhongshan University’s Dean of the School of Humanities, Chen Chunsheng, predicted that five years from now, no one will be talking about sinology. “Sinology is no longer studied in current academic and social disciplines,” said the dean. “There is also no one who can do sinological research.”


[1] Yangcheng Evening News, October 12, 2007
[2] The Great Leap Forward (大跃进) was an economic and social plan implemented from 1958 to 1960. It aimed to use China’s vast population to rapidly transform mainland China from a primarily agrarian economy dominated by peasant farmers into a modern, industrialized communist society. Mao Zedong based this program on the Theory of Productive Forces. The Great Leap Forward is now widely seen, both within China and outside, as a major economic disaster. An estimated 20 million (possibly as many as 40 million) people died as result of Mao’s efforts.

– Original report from : Professor Discusses Chinese Universities’ Major Problems

One Response to “China Universities’ Major Problems is Bureaucracy, Says Professor”

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