Vice-premier outlines how to fix schools

Updated: 2013-11-20 08:16

By HU HAIDAN in Chicago (China Daily USA)

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Tornado warnings may have delayed Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong's arrival in Chicago on Sunday afternoon, but they didn't set back her mission of friendship between China and the US at all.

Late Monday, at a dinner hosted by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Liu said people-to-people exchanges formed the foundation of diplomatic relations, and the vitality of those exchanges lay with local and community level contacts.

"The reason I chose to visit Chicago was to feel for myself the charm and vitality of that local exchange," said Liu. "Chicago has three sister cities in China and has hosted the earliest and largest Chinese language teaching program in the US."

"It is a proven fact that as local contacts between our two countries grow closer and more extensive, the friendship between our people becomes deeper and stronger, and that in turn will sustain the growth of our bilateral relations as a whole," Liu added.

After joking about the bad weather, Emanuel said, "It is my privilege to welcome Vice-Premier Liu and delegation officials to Chicago. Over the years, we have forged robust cultural and academic relationships with our Chinese friends and after today's fruitful conversation I believe Chicago and the People's Republic of China are on their way to a collaboration that will be stronger than ever before."

On Monday evening, accompanied by Emanuel, Michael Reinsdorf, president and COO of the Chicago Bulls, retired Chinese NBA basketball star Yao Ming and former NBA player Scottie Pippen, Liu watched a game between the Chicago Bulls and the Charlotte Bobcats.

Before the game, Emanuel presented Liu with a Chicago Bulls jersey with her name on the back. In return, Liu presented a picture of her twin grandsons holding basketballs.

Earlier that day during a US-China University Presidents Roundtable at the University of Chicago, Liu, addressing 22 presidents of both US and Chinese universities, said that China was eager to learn from schools in the US and other countries.

She put forward a four-point proposal for reforming China's higher education, adding that "to realize the 'Chinese dream,' talent and education were fundamental".

Firstly, Liu said, China should reform how talent is identified and then trained to improve the level of talent development, scientific research and social services, as well as cultural inheritance and innovation.

Secondly, China needed to reform the allocation of resources by supporting higher education in the less-developed central and western regions and by improving the national financial assistance system to satisfy the demands for higher education from the poverty-stricken population.

Thirdly, China should optimize the composition of manpower made up of people with different specialized talents and the regional distribution of talent, the vice-premier said. Therefore, the country needed to promote the characteristic development of universities at different levels to enhance their ability to serve economic and social development.

Lastly, Liu said, China needed to build a modern university system by streamlining administration and delegating power to lower levels.

"Cooperation and exchanges between universities have built a bridge of friendship between our two countries and become of the most closely-related and effective areas in our people-to-people exchanges," Liu said, "playing a unique role in promoting China-US relations."

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