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China: Renaming universities just a fad

Beijing International Studies University

Beijing International Studies University

The president of Beijing International Studies University recently told the media that the university might be renamed “Tourism University” and would aim at cultivating talents for high-end tourism, prompting many people to question the need to change the names of universities such as BISU and Beijing Broadcasting Institute (now Communication University of China), says an article on gmw.cn. Excerpts:

Many colleges and universities have been renamed since 2000. According to information on the official website of the Ministry of Education, 322 schools and universities have been renamed since 2004, with some of them becoming institutions of higher vocational studies.

But apart from their names, nothing has changed in most of these institutions; their teaching faculty, hardware facilities and campus environment remain the same.

The reasons to rename colleges and universities vary, but in essence the objective is nothing more than choosing “fashionable” names to attract outsiders and create opportunities to get more funds for scientific research projects and draw talented students.

None of world’s leading universities, for example, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have ever thought of changing their names. For school authorities, faculties, students and alumni, the most important thing to do is to fulfill their duties instead of wasting their time and energy, and precious government funds, to rename their universities.

The trend to rename universities in China demonstrates their extreme lack of confidence. As long as a university focuses on retaining and recruiting qualified and dedicated teachers, it will succeed in attracting good students both from home and abroad. Changing the name of a university will not change the quality of education it imparts unless it overhauls its teaching faculty and facilities.

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