Plan to add majors on frontier fields, eliminate outdated ones by 2025
China plans to adjust around 20 percent of its university majors by 2025, with majors focusing on new technologies and industries being established, while majors unfit for socioeconomic development will be weeded out, a new plan said.
The number of majors in basic disciplines, especially in science and medicine, will be increased to serve national development, focus on cutting-edge technologies worldwide and safeguard people's health, according to the plan issued by the Ministry of Education and four other departments.
The country aims to build around 10,000 national-level majors and 300 bases to train students in basic disciplines, the plan said. It will also build a number of schools that will focus on future technology, modern industry and high-level public health and will nurture exceptional engineers.
The plan has asked provincial education authorities to examine the basic conditions, teacher quality and student satisfaction rate of current majors. Inspections will be conducted by these authorities on university majors, and those deemed to be low quality or that produce low employment rates will be asked to halt enrollment.
The authorities should evaluate whether university majors within their jurisdictions match regional development, and they should publish lists of majors of high and low priority.
According to the Ministry of Education, Chinese universities are offering degrees in 66,000 majors. Since 2012, they have established 17,000 new majors and removed or suspended around 10,000 others.
With the gross enrollment rate of higher education in China reaching 59.6 percent last year, it is very important to improve the quality of higher education and make changes to the majors, said an unnamed official from the ministry's department of higher education.
Some universities have not given thorough consideration to new majors when they began offering them and have been enthusiastic in establishing many easily managed majors with little investment, so it is important to create an adjustment mechanism and strengthen regulations and evaluations from education authorities, he said.
Chu Zhaohui, a senior researcher at the National Institute of Education Sciences, said some of the majors are not in line with current socioeconomic development efforts and have low employment rates for graduates.
He said the plan focuses on practical skills in combination with societal demand and multi-discipline knowledge.
Chen Zhiwen, editor-in-chief of online education portal EOL, said, "The plan focuses on giving full play to universities' unique characteristics, rather than building comprehensive universities with many similar majors."
Moreover, the plan has asked universities to make adjustments based on their own conditions and consider what they can do to contribute to industrial, regional and national development, he said.