Wednesday, 25 April 2012

MoE Announcements on SUSTC and HK Chinese University JV

Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging platform, has been ringing with the news that Professor Zhu Qingshi's South University of Science and Technology China (SUSTC) has been given MoE approval.

This is quite interesting for those watching international education in China, whether involved in int'l HE or simply looking at Chinese HE, reforms and policies. The main reason being that SUSTC is the first university established without foreign assistance to teach programmes in English and utlizing a student centred learning approach. A more in-depth bog post on SUSTC will follow.

A second piece of news which seems to have slipped under the radar is perhaps of more concern/interest to Sino-Foreign educators in China. This is the news that China's second PRC-HK Joint Venture University has been given the go ahead (the first is UIC, a JV between Beijing Normal and HK Baptist).

This second university will be a JV between Shenzhen University (PRC) and Chinese University of Hong Kong, a world-class university located in HK.

With new announcements concerning NYU Shanghai last week (see last post), this really ups the the pressure, as both universities will be opening their doors in 2013, with Duke Kunshan also expected to do the same. It remains to be seen whether the universities of NYU Shanghai, DKU and CUHK Shenzhen will be able to secure quota to recruit from outside their home provinces (respectively Shanghai, Jiangsu and Shenzhen), but launching three universities with high fees, in addition to the established competition from UNNC, XJTLU, SBC and UIC who already operate at or near full capacity.

CUHK Shenzhen could be a major headache for NYU Shanghai. While NYU Shanghai aims to recruit 1400-2500 students, CUHK Shenzhen has a stated first phase target of 7000 students, building to 11000 by the end of the 2nd phase (expected 5 year phases).

Also, CUHK Shenzhen fees are reportedly equivalent to those already approved for the other existing Sino-British JV universities of XJTLU, UNNC and SBC - 60kRMB per annum. This could prove a major headache for NYU and Duke who, it is rumoured, will be hoping to be able to charge significantly more.

Existing JV's, particularly XJTLU and UNNC, can still rest easy knowing that the full approval process can take months, if not years, to play out. Recruiting large numbers of students from across China is impossible without quotas negotiated through the provincial and municpal education bureaus. This should give the existing universities a minimum of 2-3 years to adapt to the incoming competition, though NYU, Duke and CUHK are all big-hitters. If they can make it work.


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