The story appears on

Page A8

November 2, 2016

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Business » Biz Special

XJTLU has much to celebrate in 10th year

IN China, it’s never been easy for top-ranking university seniors to leave the job and set up a new university from the very beginning. Though Xi Youmin, former vice president of Xi’an Jiaotong University, never regretted that he chose to be one of them and devoted probably the most important eight years in his career to a brand new Sino-foreign university.

In his early fifties in 2008, Xi left his post in Xi’an for Suzhou, a fast-growing metropolis close to Shanghai, to become the president of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) — one of the first joint initiatives between China and the UK on higher education.

The cooperation was in response to a 2004 regulation that promotes Chinese-foreign cooperative education projects, and a globalization strategy for both Xi’an Jiaotong University and Liverpool University.

With a focused push on university’s certification by China’s Ministry of Education, XJTLU was launched in 2006 and enrolled its first batch of 164 students.

Xi witnessed the whole process as the coordinator of the negotiations and later was elected by the board of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University as Executive President. Some of Xi’s former colleagues and friends did not view Xi’s election as president in an optimistic way as they assumed XJTLU’s prospects as too ambiguous, or risky, to generate fruitful results similar to those achieved by its local counterparts.

But Xi was confident that he could succeed as a mover and shaker in education for the future in his post.

“There are three factors that I valued a lot about XJTLU back then,” Xi told Shanghai Daily. “The international platform the university stands on, the international resources the university can gather, and a global education reform that can let international joint-venture universities become leaders among their counterparts.”

Eight years on, and in time for XJTLU’s 10-year anniversary, Xi found his choice rewarding. More than 8,000 graduates have graduated from the university, with nearly 80 percent of them pursuing advanced studies abroad in top universities and the rest starting careers in high profile companies domestically and overseas.

Investments in hardware and facilities, as well as its strategic location in the heart of the Suzhou Industrial Park where more than 130 Fortune 500 companies and some 5,000 Chinese and international enterprises are present have enabled the school to engage closely with local business bodies and offer practical training to XJTLU students. The management structure of XJTLU, different from a traditional top-down style, also allows its lecturers and professors to speak out their own ideas and be more involved in teaching and research practices.

The most important, Xi said, is the unwavering mission of the school to blend the best practices of East and West in order to build an innovative, inspirational and leading standard for China and even in global education. Xi believes this is the key to education for the next generation.

“XJTLU won’t stop exploring the future of education,” Xi said. “For the next step, XJTLU is considering spreading the research-led education to challenge the knowledge-based education philosophy.”

Other big plans to support this idea are in the pipeline. In a recent agreement signed with companies in Jiangyin and Liverpool University, XJTLU said that it will establish a new college of high-end entrepreneurial talents and plan to expand the number of its students to 5,000 in 10 years. If approved, the college could attract nearly one billion yuan (US$147 million) support from the school’s different financiers, Xi said.

“If your plan is for one year, plant rice; if your plan is for 10 years, plant trees; if your plan is for 100 years, educate children,” Xi cited an old Chinese saying on his official Weibo account. “As a long-term sustainable model, XJTLU has developed a strong foundation in its first decade. It’s important for us to continuously provide value for students and parents earning their trust in a 100-year-long process.”

At the end of the day, Xi is now more confident to assert that XJTLU can be on par with any domestic university and will be a main competitor of overseas counterparts. The future is still bright for XJTLU, just as Xi predicted one decade ago.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend