Study Higher Education in China
1. The solidified core status of teaching in HEIs
In HEIs, the idea that with training talents as its basic task, teaching as its melody, how to increase the education equality is its eternal theme, teaching reform is the core of any other reforms, and undergraduate education is its basis is becoming the dominant idea for higher education. The establishment of this dominant idea comes by not easily.
From the end of l980’s to the early l990’s, there used to be inadequate input in the fields of leading vigour, teaching expenditure, teachers and the students’ energy. As a result, the trend of declining or potential crisis once showed up in the field teaching. In order to stop that, the former State Education Commission took active measures and gave guiding opinions on some directing, comprehensive and strategic issues. Under the unified planning of State Education Commission, the educational executive departments at various levels energetically deliberated the policies and measures to stop the trend of teaching declining in its own areas and department. All the efforts effectively controlled the trend and potential crisis and lead the teaching work to develop in good direction.
2. The completion of the reservation of the discipline catalogue and disciplines adjustment and the beginning of the over all reservation of teaching plan
The former SEdC began the new round of reservation of undergraduate discipline catalogue in 1997. Following the policy of being scientific, adapting and standard, the reservation came to the end successfully in July 1998 after a year’s of thorough investigation and repeated proof. The total number of disciplines was reduced from 504 to 249. After that, MoE promulgated "The basic ideas on the reservation of teaching plan of undergraduate disciplines in the HEIs." and "The Circular of making good reservation of teaching plan of undergraduate disciplines for HEIs " in succession. At present, according to the planning of MoE, all the regular HEIs are undertaking the new round of teaching plan reservation. The new teaching plan will come into practice in the autumn of l999.
3. Entering a substantial key stage for the reform of teaching contents and curriculum
The former SEdC launched the "Reform Plan of Teaching Contents and Curriculum of Higher Education Facing the 21st Century" in 1994, formally ratifying the establishment of 211 big projects and nearly a thousand sub-projects with tens of thousands teachers participating. This plan covers all areas of teaching such as teaching ideology, teaching contents, curriculum structure and teaching methodology. A advisory group for the reform of teaching contents and curriculum consisting of domestic famous experts from all disciplines has been set up. By now, 20 million RMB have been put into the whole plan and the aim that by the end of this century and early next century nearly a hundred new talents training patterns and almost a thousand sets of new teaching materials will come into being is being realized. At the same time, a large number of teaching reform achievements have showed up in HEIs. 1997, the National Teaching Achievements Awards organized and implemented by the former SEdC all together offered 422 State Awards. The national comparison of computer-aided teaching software research was carried out in 1995 and 1997 respectively and a bunch of preliminary systematic teaching software with high quality has sprung up.
4. The initial success of talents training bases for basic disciplines and the teaching bases of basic courses
Since the later year of l980’s, the basic disciplines in HEIs has been facing serious difficulties such as severe inadequate expenditure, very unstable teacher team, obvious decline of students’ quality. As a result, the long-term development of our science and technology and the training quality of talents in higher education were threatened. Under that circumstance, the former SEdC decided to establish the training bases for talents in basic disciplines and the teaching bases of basic courses. By the end of 1998, 84 national training bases of talents from basic disciplines of Science, 51 for basic disciplines of Arts, 45 for engineering disciplines and 13 for economics have been set up in succession. The bases attracted lots of outstanding high school graduates, thus the quality of students was improved obviously and the initiative of the teachers increased unprecedented. The establishment and reform of bases gained common approval and appreciation form higher education sector.
5. The enhancement of cultural education of university students and the exploration of new talents training models
In 1995, the former SEdC envisaged to enhance the cultural education of university students. With the tangency of enhancing the cultural quality of university students, moral and ideological quality, cultural quality, professional quality and physical and psychological quality were combined organically together. Passing on knowledge, training capacities and improve quality were be mixed and quality education was realistic strengthened. 52 HEIs participated in the pilot work. The concerning HEIs took various measures, such as identifying the compulsory reading list, strengthening classroom teaching, offering lectures, and organizing all kinds of cultural activities, to promote the programme development. Some pilot HEIs identified the goal, basic requirement and assessment standard of the programme while some others began to adjust talents training and teaching plans in the light of new requirements. After 3-year of pilot, MoE promulgated the "opinoins in the enhancement of cultural education of university students", set up directory committee for cultural education and ratified 32 "Bases for the Enhancement of cultural education of university students", which symbolized that the enhancement of cultural education of university students was carried out fully and over the country.