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INTERVIEW | Jiang Feng: Globalization- Chinese universities develop strong policies


24 July 2019 | By Hwang Jae-ho | The Korea Times

K

orea currently hosts 100,000 students from around the world.Now the Korean government has announced its "Study Korea 2020 Project," to extend the numbers to 200,000.

The government and universities are not alone in this effort.Neighboring China and Japan also pursue such policies.

The Chinese government is recruiting many students by providing scholarships.Both Korea and China are developing globalization policies aligned with their respective sizes,economic prowess,academic competitiveness,public diplomacy and educational policies.

In May,Jiang Feng,a longtime official at China's Ministry of Education,and party secretary of the Shanghai International Studies University (SISU),one of the major universities in China,sat with me to discuss the globalization of Korean and Chinese universities.

Q: Could you briefly explain the university education policy of China?

A: In recent years,China's higher education has experienced rapid development in quality and quantity.Statistical data shows that there were 2,631 regular higher education institutions (HEIs),including 470 private colleges,and 37.79 million students across China in 2017.The gross enrollment rate rose to 45.7 percent.Now the university education policy of China focuses on stabilizing the scale,adjusting the mix and promoting equality and quality.In 2017,China initiated the "double world-class" (top domestically and internationally) project to elevate some universities and disciplines to a world-class level.Last year,the Ministry of Education of China issued several policies to build and improve the capacity of universities and strengthen the status of our four-year college education in the world.In addition,China is also investing heavily to revitalize higher education in less prosperous central and western provinces,supporting local universities and colleges to build their capacity to better serve local social and economic development.?

Q: Is there an index to evaluate the globalization of Chinese universities?

A: Yes.The annual report of "University Rankings by Internationalization" (URI) is currently the most recognized ranking system,with a focus on university internationalization.Designed by the Evaluation Research Center for University Internationalization of Southwest Jiaotong University,the annual URI report has been published every year since 2013.In the most recent 2018 URI report,139 Chinese universities are on the ranking list.URI ranks the universities internationalization according to seven key indicators: internationalization of students,faculty and staff,teaching,research,cultural exchange,international visibility and peer review.In this index,the numbers of students participating in in-bound and out-bound exchange programs,on-campus international students,faculty members with an overseas education background,joint research projects undertaken by university and international scholars,overseas campus and Confucius Institutions,annual budget on university international cooperation and exchange are all important criteria that are taken into consideration and analysis.We are encouraged to see progress on all indicators.

Q: How do Chinese universities manage international students and what is the composition of students from abroad?

A: Official statistics shows that in 2018 there were a total of 492,185 international students from 196 countries/areas pursuing their studies in 1,004 higher education institutions in China's 31 provinces/autonomous regions/provincial-level municipalities.Among these students,nearly 60 percent were from Asia,16.57 percent from Africa,14.96 percent from Europe and 7.26 percent from America.South Korea topped the list with 50,600 students,followed by Thailand,Pakistan,India,the United States,Russia and Indonesia.The number of international students in China who registered with degree programs has witnessed the fastest growth,accounting for 52.445 percent.In terms of major,Chinese language is the top choice for international students.But more and more international students study other disciplines,such as engineering,Western medicine,literature,economics,management,Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and education.

Q: Could you compare the respective strengths of Korean and Chinese universities?

A: Universities in Korea and China have many things in common: we both face severe competition;we seek higher global rankings and good reputations ― our international rankings have been rising on a fast track;we make great efforts to fulfill social responsibilities,and we have made ourselves increasingly indispensable in our nations' political,economic and social advancement.If I focus on Chinese universities,they are mostly public and receive regular funding from the central and the local governments.The number of students we recruit is predetermined and their quality is guaranteed and relatively consistent.Our faculty team is generally stable,with a low turnover rate.Korea has many more private universities than China,which means you have more freedom in the selection of students and are more ready to launch innovative initiatives in order to compete with other universities for students,faculty and funding.In recent years,both Korean and Chinese universities have been pushing forward in a drive to expand humanistic education and internationalization.I hope we can have more exchanges and dialogues to discuss,cooperate and learn from each other's endeavors.

Q.What is the vision of SISU for future development?

A.SISU aims to be a world-leading university with its special focus on global and area studies,delivering both impact and influence through international,innovative and interdisciplinary research and teaching.Upholding our mission to "Interpret the World,Translate the Future," we are committed to preparing future leaders and professionals with advanced language proficiency,extensive global knowledge,and deep intercultural understanding to shape international scholarship across the humanities and social sciences,and address critical challenges worldwide.

Q.Could you introduce SISU's history,its reputation in China and notable alumni?

A.SISU is known for being one of the earliest institutions where China's higher education in foreign languages took shape.Our pioneering history began in 1949,the year of the founding of the People's Republic of China,with the establishment of the Shanghai Russian School.Over the past 70 years,SISU has grown from that mono-disciplinary language institute into a national leading and globally recognized university in China for international studies.SISU's discipline of foreign languages and literatures ranks first in the subject evaluation by China's Ministry of Education.Our graduates,including a large number of high-profile diplomats,are at the forefront of China's international affairs,such as Mr.Yang Jiechi,former foreign minister of China,and Mr.Qiu Guohong,Chinese ambassador to South Korea.

Q.Please provide us with a brief introduction of yourself,including notable past and present positions and affiliations.

A.I was born in December 1962 in Shandong Province.I studied German at Shanghai International Studies University from 1980 to 1984.I received my PhD from Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) in 2002.Prior to 2014,I was deputy director general of International Cooperation and Policy at the Ministry of Education of the PRC and minister-counselor at the embassy of the PRC in Berlin.Currently I'm party secretary of SISU,in other words,chairman of the University Council.In Chinese colleges and universities,presidents are responsible for the daily operation and function of all overall affairs with and under the leadership of the party committee.We also call this the university council.It is the role of the party secretary to chair the university council.

Jiang Feng is Chair of the University Council,SISU.

Hwang Jae-ho is director of the Global Security Cooperation Center,Hankuk University of Foreign Studies,Seoul.Song Min-ju,a researcher at the center,assisted Professor Hwang with the article.

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Press Contact

SISU News Center,Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email :news@www.whiwo.com

Address :550 Dalian Road (W),Shanghai 200083,China

Further Reading