On June 21st, the Chinese Ministry of Education held its National Planning Meeting on New Era Undergraduate University Education at Sichuan University. The meeting focused on the themes of undergraduate student-oriented education, implementing the ‘four returns,’ and promoting world-class undergraduate education with Chinese characteristics. Chinese Minster of Education, Chen Baosheng, was the main speaker.
Chen Baosheng stressed that a university’s essential role is to cultivate talent, while undergraduate education is at the heart of this endeavor. University leadership should strategically invest in “undergraduate student-oriented education” by prioritizing undergraduate programs, which, according to Chen, must move to the top of national higher education agendas in the new era of educational development.
Chen further argued for the importance of advancing the so-called ‘four returns,’ the first being a return to general knowledge and guiding students in their pursuit of genuine core learning. Second is the return to the original role of teachers as professionals fully dedicated to their students’ education. Third is the return to original intentions, persisting in proper, systematic teaching, and adhering to given standards. The fourth ‘return’ is a return to the Chinese educational dream, advancing education reform and implementing education that serves the country.
The education minister also highlighted the need for innovation in Chinese higher education conceptualization and ideas, teaching methods and technologies, as well as international competitiveness so as to afford a leading role in global higher education to Chinese educational standards and methodologies.
The Vice Minister of Education, Lin Huiqing, presided over the meeting, while a number of representatives from regional education departments and other higher education officials held speeches. Via simulcast in various locations, over 50,000 participants altogether were able to join the event.
SCU President Li Yanrong delivered a speech on “Developing World-class Undergraduate Education,” introducing SCU’s undergraduate training and practice in classroom reform, reinforcing qualified faculty, expanding students’ global horizons, and helping to advance innovation & entrepreneurship.
Before the meeting, Education Minister Chen Baosheng and several education officials from the Ministry of Education joined other representatives for an inspection tour of Sichuan University’s educational facilities and teaching environment, observing Yang Jun’s class on cell biology and Zhang Lu’s English composition course, as well as 43 other teachers’ open classes. Chen Baosheng offered highly positive feedback in response to the faculty members’ excellent teaching presentations, as well as on the general undergraduate teaching situation at SCU. The delegation also visited the museum at West China College of Stomatology, the State Education Demonstration Center, the West China College of Clinical Medicine, its Remote Medical Care Center and other SCU facilities and institutes. Chen and the other delegates were visibly impressed by the quality of teaching, cutting-edge research, and extensive social welfare projects at Sichuan University’s West China medical colleges and hospitals.
“Undergraduate Student-Oriented Education & the ‘Four Returns’”:
Successful Forum on Promoting World-class Undergraduate Education
On June 20th, the forum on promoting world-class undergraduate education was successfully held at Sichuan University. Representatives from over 150 colleges and universities across China attended the forum, joining in-depth discussions on the theme of “undergraduate student-oriented education, the ‘four returns,’ and constructing world-class undergraduate education.” Wu Yan, Head of the Department of Higher Education at the Ministry of Education and Wang Jianguo, Chairman of the University Council of SCU, jointly presided over the forum and each held a speech.
Wang Jianguo explained that Sichuan University is diligently studying “Xi Jinping thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” while reinforcing its dedication to comprehensively raising the quality of talent training as a core objective and implementing the ‘four returns’ as an important contribution to actualizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation in the areas of education and knowledge production.
Wu Yan pointed out that the promotion of world-class education constituted a meaningful indicator of the development of Chinese higher education in the new era. The forum thus represented a significant event in terms of the necessity to build a solid foundation for the continuing work of promoting world-class undergraduate education in China. Wu expressed his hopes that participants would seize this opportunity to accelerate the comprehensive advancement of world-class undergraduate education, strengthen world-class disciplines, and educate world-class talents.
Formal Release ofWorld-class Undergraduate Education Manifesto(Chengdu)
On June 22nd, the Ministry of Education held a news conference marking the official launch of theWorld-class Undergraduate Education Manifesto(Chengdu), a document jointly issued by SCU and its and partner universities and colleges. A total of 150 colleges and universities across the nation jointly committed to the aims and policies outlined in the manifesto, including a commitment to national rejuvenation by focusing on students’ education as the core responsibility of higher education reform in the new era, as well as a dedication to student-oriented undergraduate education, the ‘four returns,’ open cooperation, and groundbreaking innovation.
On the same day, the Ministry of Education’s press office also organized a series of interviews with various education officials and university leaders including Wu Yan, Wang Jianguo, and the President of Fudan University, Xu Ningsheng, who introduced the reform efforts of their respective universities and answered reporters’ questions.