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China to build world-class cyber security schools within 10 years

(Global Times)    13:23, August 16, 2017

China's top cyber security and education authorities have vowed to build four to six world-class cyber security schools within 10 years, as part of efforts to realize the nation's goal of becoming a strong Internet power.

The Cyberspace Administration of China and the Ministry of Education jointly issued a guideline on Monday, setting an overall training system and specific goals for the cultivation of cyber security talents.

According to the guideline, Chinese universities are encouraged to increase recruitment of undergraduate students in cyber security-related majors for graduate studies without the entrance examinations. Moreover, schools are encouraged to run special recruitment for "gifted youth" or "maverick geniuses."

The guideline also encourages students to participate in innovative projects or entrepreneurship and encourage Chinese universities to cooperate with overseas schools, enterprises, and research centers to attract talents.

More importantly, the guideline stresses that the evaluation of cyber security talents will be based on their expertise and creativity. Academic degrees, papers and records of service are no longer the only standards.

"As China is in dire need of cyber security talents, the guideline, which contains specific instructions, will help the country cultivate a number of students who are equipped with strong practical abilities," Xie Yongjiang, a professor at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, told the Global Times.

Previously, Chinese universities focused too much on the number of published academic papers. The guideline could be a new chance for students to emphasize their practical training and turn what they learn into social activity, said Xie.

Xie noted that only a small proportion of China's schools offer cyber security courses and there is a lack of qualified instructors, calling for the country to quickly establish a systematic discipline for cyber security education.

Amid China's national push to train more cyber security talents, many top universities have started to offer cyber security-related majors since 2015.

Vice Minister of Education Lin Huiqing said at a press conference in February 2016 that the number of new university graduates majoring in cyber security, information countermeasures and confidential data management has surpassed 120 and the number of students in other cyber security-related majors has exceeded 4,800, Xinhua Daily reported in February 2016.

However, Feng Huamin, vice president of the Beijing Electronic Science and Technology Institute, said that China needs more cyber security talents working in several sectors, including in Party and government organs; in key infrastructure and information systems; and in combating cybercrimes and cyber terrorism.

Feng made the remarks at a plenary session during the China Cyber security Week held in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province in September 2016.

Only 10 percent of the 1,200 Chinese science and technology universities offer cyber security-related majors while over 100 leading universities do not have any such majors. Besides, only 15 Chinese universities have established cyber security schools and there is no systematic method for cyber security education, said Feng. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Xiaofei, Bianji)

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