The Overall Goals and Missions of Project 211
During the 9th Five - Year Plan period, the government will initiate actions to strengthen a number of institutions of higher learning and key disciplinary areas. It is envisaged that after several years' efforts some l00 institutions 0f higher learning and a group of key disciplinary areas will have greatly improved their quality of education, scientific research, management and institutional efficiency. In addition, these institutions will also have made remarkable progress in reforming the management system and consequently become the bases for training high-level professional manpower and solving major problems for the country's economic construction and social development£® As a result of such efforts, this group of institutions will set up national standards in overall quality , with some of the key universities and disciplinary areas approaching or reaching the advanced international standards. The majority of them will have enhanced their physical conditions and staff competence, in addition to noticeable achievements in human resources training and scientific research£® Adapting to regional and sectional development needs, these institutions are expected to play a key and exemplary role.
Main Components of the Project
Project 211 consists of the following three major components for development, namely the overall institutional capacity, key disciplinary areas, and public service system of higher education.
1. The Improvement of Overall Institutional Capacity.
This requires great efforts in bringing up a large number of academic leaders and competent teachers who have high academic attainments and prestige both at home and abroad. In particular, the training of young academic leaders should be accelerated, so as to maintain a stable teaching and administrative contingent with political integrity and academic quality, rational structure and professional competence. The reform of education and teaching will be carried out in depth in order to optimize the structure of academic programs (specialties) and to enhance the overall student development in moral, intellectual and physical aspects, thus ensuring substantial improvement in the quality of education. Measures are to be taken to enhance the infrastructure and laboratory facilities indispensable for teaching and research, thus creating necessary conditions for training as well as attracting outstanding talents. Steps are to be taken to improve efficiency through moderate institutional expansion, enhance scientific research, and strive for the commercialization of research findings so as to accelerate the pace of transferring scientific achievements into productivity. While facilitating the reform of the administrative as well as the internal management system of universities, efforts will be made to strengthen international exchange and co-operation in higher education, and raise the international profile of Chinese higher education institutions.
2.The Development of Key Disciplinary Areas
The main thrust of the development of key disciplinary areas is to enhance the capacity of training high-level manpower in the capacity of training high-level manpower in the frontier fields of science and technology. Among the institutions with favorable conditions, efforts will be made to identify key research bases, which can exert significant impact on the country's social and economic development, scientific and technological advancement, and the national defense. These bases will have the capacity to deal with major problems in science and technology and have the prospect for breakthroughs in relevant fields. Improving the experimental facilities for the training of professional manpower, efforts will be made to broaden the coverage of various disciplines, and foster the emergence of groups of disciplines, and foster the emergence of groups of disciplines, and foster the emergence of groups of disciplinary areas and research bases. With common theoretical foundation and inherently close relationships, these groups are favored for resources sharing and have unique features and advantages in developing a capacity for the training of high-level professional manpower in a sustainable manner. Efforts will also be made to establish a system of key disciplinary areas covering major professions and sectors for national economic and social progress, facilitating the development of academic disciplines and science and technology, optimizing the division of labor, and achieving mutual reinforcement.
3.The Development of the Public Service System of Higher Education
The development of the public service system of higher education comprises three components: the Chinese Education and Research Network (CERNET), the Library and Documentation Support System (LDSS) and the Modern Equipment and Facilities Sharing System (MEFSS). Linking up all major universities in China and the INTERNET, the CERNET will provide information service to the sectors of education, science and technology, and customers from all walks of life in China. The LDSS. backed by the CERNET, will establish a national comprehensive documentation center and a number of documentation centers for various disciplines, thus forming a documentation and information sub-network with extensive connections to similar systems both at home and abroad. In light of regional conditions and development priorities of the disciplinary areas, the MEFSS service center will be set up in major cities where a large number of universities are located so as to raise the efficiency in facility utilization.
Plans and Tasks of Project 211 During the 9th Five Year Plan Period
1. Top Priority will be given to the strengthening of universities to help them approach and reach the advanced international standards for the overall quality of teaching, scientific research, and the training of professional manpower, so as to establish their international prestige and position among universities in the world.
2. Priority will be accorded to the upgrading and improvement of the infrastructure for teaching and research in about 25 universities, which, with a high concentration of key disciplinary areas, have an important bearing on China's socialist modernization drive, and shoulder a larger share of responsibility in developing the public service system. These institutions are expected to greatly upgrade their quality of training for professional manpower and have some of the key disciplinary areas approaching and reaching international standards, thus playing a key and exemplary role among universities in China. Emphasis will be place on supporting the development of institutions and key disciplinary areas which are closely related to the basic and pillar sectors of the industry, and on the improvement of the training capacity of high-level professional manpower and technical personnel who are urgently needed for national development. This clearly indicates that Project 211 is mainly oriented to economic development of China.
3. Efforts will be made to strengthen about 300 key disciplinary areas which have important bearing on social and economic development, scientific and technological advancement, and the national defense, thus enhancing the long-term training capacity for high-level professional manpower in response to the needs of socialist market economy.
4. Steps will be taken to establish a basic framework for the public service system of higher education.
The Mode of Implementation of Project 211
In principle, projects aimed at strengthening key disciplines and the public service system of higher education will be integrated in an overall plan and implemented in selected universities for consolidation, upgrading, and improvement, so as to effectively utilize financial resources and bring into full play the overall efficiency of higher education institutions. A small number of key disciplinary areas and other development projects will be accommodated in other institutions of higher learning.