First 'basic law' for university approved

10:39, June 11, 2011      

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The South University of Science and Technology of China has received local government approval for its own regulation of university management, which is considered the first "basic law" for a Chinese university.

A host of regulations, which have been approved by the Shenzhen government, will be enacted from July 1.

The regulations, issued on the Shenzhen government's website, said the university will set up a board of directors, who will be the policymakers for the university. The board will have the right to appoint the president and vice-president, examine and approve the university's regulations, financial reports and development plan.

The president's term will be five years and he or she can be reappointed with the approval of the board of directors.

Central government or local authorities usually appoint university presidents in China.

According to the regulation, the board of directors will be composed of representatives from the government, the university president and management team, representatives of the faculties and leading members of society. The Shenzhen mayor or another person nominated by the mayor will be the board chairman.

"As the first regulation on the management of a Chinese university, it will inevitably contain some imperfections," Zhu Qingshi, president of the university, told the Beijing News. "But the fact that the government has given us more say in making our university's regulations is quite a gain.

"It will take time before the university will be able to fully make decisions on its own. We are looking forward to it."

The regulations also stipulate that the university will follow the principle of academic freedom and entitle the professors to govern academic issues. In most universities in China, administrative departments make almost all major decisions on university management.

"In fact, the slogan of 'let the professors govern academic fields' is not new in China. However, few can achieve it," said Gu Xiaoming, a sociologist at Shanghai-based Fudan University.

"I think the university should get down to the solid work of improving the quality of its education, which is the substantial part of the reform," he said.

South University of Science and Technology of China, which opened in 2009 with sponsorship from the Shenzhen government, is widely recognized as the trailblazer of China's education reforms.

The university, which aims to cultivate innovative talent, recruited its first class of 45 students in March on its own. All the students refused to take part in the recent national college entrance examination.

It has also decided to grant its own academic diplomas, which, however, will not be recognized by the education authorities.

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