The Annual International Forum on Higher Education 2019 was held at Lanzhou University, Gansu Province, on October 12 and 13. The event was hosted by the China Association of Higher Education under the theme “Modernizing Higher Education: International Perspectives and China’s Experience”. Governor of Gansu, Tang Renjian, and vice education minister Weng Tiehui attended the forum and delivered a speech.
Tang said that higher education was fundamental to building the power and strength of a nation, and facilitating its development. While noting with satisfaction the rapid growth of higher education in Gansu province - with steady expansion of scale, structural improvements, greater relevance and more frequent international exchanges, he said it was imperative to bring in more technological expertise and talent, in order to provide greater intellectual support for local economic development.
In her speech, Weng commended the forum for its positive contribution to China's exchanges and cooperation with the rest of the world in the field of higher education. She urged universities and education departments to seize the opportunities presented by the exchanges to advance the “Double First Class” initiative, in an effort to help build China into a higher education powerhouse. She tabled a three-point guideline. First, it was important to bear in mind the purpose of introducing the initiative, which is to provide knowledge support for China’s economic development and backstop the realization of the Chinese dream. Second, universities needed to identify their priorities, building on existing strengths and specializations, to achieve organic, high quality growth. Third, a law- and rule-based modern governance system had to be introduced to provide safeguards for sustained development. She urged unity and coordination amongst all shortlisted universities, in order to create synergy that benefits all stakeholders.