Innovation needed to run joint programs
Updated: 2011-07-22 10:56
By Lin Jinhui (China Daily European Weekly)
Joint programs between Chinese and overseas universities are slowly following the same game plan, but that doesn't bode well for Chinese students if they want to develop their talents.
Without a clear position and goal, some of these joint schools are unable to provide qualified services, which is undervaluing the schools' credibility.
How can these joint programs make any headway in promoting cooperation among Chinese and foreign schools?
The key is developing new ways of training students and increasing the quality of education so that schools can grow over the long term.
Schools must change their strategies and better allocate educational resources. In the context of China's reform of education, local governments should spread education resources evenly among schools and spread resources geographically throughout the nation.
Schools must innovate the way they teach students and their operational models. Chinese schools are encouraged to learn from foreign schools in improving the design of programs, selection of textbooks, methods of teaching, and the quality of their faculty.
A big problem with Sino-foreign schools is that some foreign professors make trips in and out of China too frequently because they have teaching and research projects in their home countries. Some are also doing this because they can't get used to life in China.
A constant fluctuation of teachers harms the quality of education. Therefore, the schools should better manage their faculty and provide better working and living conditions for foreign professors. At the same time, we should lift the hiring cap of foreign professors in order to hire qualified teachers.
Joint programs must also effectively evaluate personnel and have effective methods of punishment. China should establish complaints and arbitration committees to allow the public to supervise schools.
The country also needs to strengthen research on Chinese-foreign cooperation in running schools.
When these programs have gained some steam, the subject of how to run Sino-foreign joint schools should be established to outline basic concepts, theory and studying methods. This is necessary to train high-quality personnel for the growing number of Chinese-foreign schools, which can better internationalize education in China.
The author is head of Xiamen University-The University of Hong Kong Joint Research Center of Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Running Schools.
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