Ranking of Chinese colleges, universities draws wide attention
2004-08-10 00:00
By Quan Xiaoshu, Lan Ying

    BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- A new list ranking Chinese colleges and universities, which for the first time evaluates their competitiveness in six specific categories, is drawing wide attention.

    The list, released jointly by the Research Center for China Scientific Evaluation and the China Youth Daily, was the first in China to involve assessments from non-governmental organizations, said Xiao Mingzheng, a professor at prestigious Beijing University.

    He suggested the media play a more active role in such evaluations. "In most Western nations, college rankings are issuedby influential media groups, not by official education departments."

    "In addition to dealing with a reservoir of information, the media is also well qualified to distribute questionnaires and collect feedback. Thus, their evaluations are usually more credible and objective," Xiao acknowledged.

    The list divides 1,683 universities and colleges across China into six categories: comprehensive and minority ethnicities' universities; colleges of agriculture, science and technology; normal universities; medical universities; colleges of language, economy and law; and institutes of physical culture and art education.

    Schools in each category are ranked according to two specific criteria: attainments in scientific and technological innovation and competitiveness in human and social science research.

    A survey of 212 college students showed that 80 percent of themregard this ranking as more rational than previous ones.

    "Former rankings were not so credible, as they compared colleges specialized in different fields," said Gao Xing, a student with the Central-South China University of Finance, Economics, Political Science & Law in central China's Hubei Province.

    Liu Jing, a girl from Beijing Foreign Studies University, holdsthe list could help high school students select the "right" college.

    "Ace universities, like Beijing and Qinghua (Tsinghua) universities, may be a dream to many students. But other colleges,with not so much fame, may be quite superb in certain fields, justas listed in the ranking. They are also good choices," Liu said.

    But 90 percent of the surveyed students believe the rankings won't influence their attitude toward their own colleges. "I studyhere happily, so I don't care which place it takes in the list," noted Wang Chen from Beijing Second Foreign Language University.

    Since the first evaluation on China's universities and collegeswas issued in 1987, there have been more than 20 such rankings, none of which has been accepted by the public. An online poll among 27,870 people in July this year showed that only 10 percent of the interviewed considered the previous lists "correct and objective."

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