On May 11th, 2021, the 30th Plenary Meeting of Affairs Advisory Committee of Universities under the Direct Leadership of the Ministry of Education was held in Beijing. Sun Chunlan, the committee member of the CPC Central Politburo and the Vice Premier of the State Council both attended the meeting and delivered a speech. Qin He, President of JISU and the only representative of private colleges was invited to the meeting as a nonvoting delegate.
During the meeting, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan emphasized that it was crucial to thoroughly implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important discussion on higher education, especially his important speech during the inspection of Tsinghua University, and carry out the decisions and deployments of the Party Central Committee and the State Council. She also focused on the goals of adhering to the fundamental task of strengthening moral education and cultivating people, valuing and strengthening the cultivation of teaching staff in higher education, and guiding teachers to be “knowledgeable mentors”. In addition, she argued that colleges and universities should cultivate first-class talents, build top-ranking disciplines, and fulfill first-rate achievements. Moreover, Sun Chunlan also stressed that colleges and universities also needed to accelerate the building of world-class universities with Chinese characteristics to make more contributions to shaping new development advantages and promoting high-quality development globally.
Sun Chunlan made the following requirements: During the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), the key to establishing a high-quality education system and building first-class university groups is developing high-quality teaching teams. Colleges and universities should guide all the teachers to adhere to the original aspiration and mission of teaching and educating students, to pay more attention to ethics and self-cultivation, and to keep rigorous academic attitudes so as to serve as models for students on learning, working, and conducting themselves properly. It is necessary for colleges and universities to strengthen the construction of disciplines and specialties as well as scientific research facilities to create conditions for teachers to display talents and accomplish ambitions. It is also important for colleges and universities to improve the teacher evaluation system, eliminate the “five only standards”, and highlight quality-orientated peer assessments. They should also lay emphasis on reducing unnecessary burdens of teachers, giving more time to teachers, and guaranteeing the benefits of teachers. This can allow them to carry out teaching and research work with devotion. It is essential for secretaries and principals of colleges and universities to implement innovative education concepts and ideas, lead the colleges and universities to choose the promising direction, and focus on the main majors based on social needs, historical accumulation, and their own advantages. Furthermore, they can fulfill the creative, intensive, and high-quality development in line with the standards of politicians and educators.
In accordance with General Secretary Xi Jinping’s latest series of important guidance on higher education and Sun Chunlan’s essence of the speech, Qin He remarked, “After listening to Sun Chunlan’s address, we have a further understanding of the situation, mission, and task of the reformation and development of higher education.
First, China’s higher education has reached a new historical starting point. The scale of China’s higher education ranks first in the world and higher education has moved into the stage of popularization. Based on the new stage, it is urgent to make adjustments to the goals, tasks, and development strategies of higher education to transfer from “quantity” to “quality”.
Second, China’s higher education practitioners shoulder a new significant mission. Confronted with the challenges of unprecedented changes in a century, in order to build a great modern socialist country and to achieve national revitalization, it is pressing to encourage higher education, as an important integrated body of talents and science and technology, to play its role better.
Third, the progress of higher education requires innovative ideas and new initiatives. Since the 21st century, although the reformation and development of China’s higher education has made great achievements, it still faces many difficulties, problems, and challenges. Colleges and universities need to further emancipate minds, develop strategic thinking, and be equipped with a long-term vision.
Fourth, colleges and universities should form a new landscape of higher education as soon as possible, especially the diversified and high-quality higher education pattern. We should not only develop ‘Double First-Rate’ colleges and universities, but also support other types of colleges and universities to push on towards high-quality development. Greater efforts should be made to support private colleges and universities as well as guide more private ones to strengthen the development with connotation and characteristics to a higher level. This will promote private colleges and universities to become an important part of the new pattern of higher education in the new era.”
“This meeting was held at the crucial historical juncture of the growth of higher education in China, which facilitated the implementation of the central government’s decisions and deployment on higher education and promoted the exchange of new ideas.” Qin He commented.