On February 7, the General Offices of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance jointly issued a notice demanding higher education institutions (HEIs) directly under their remit earmark resources for the fight against the novel coronavirus, as part of efforts to fully implement instructions announced by President Xi Jinping, the Party Central Committee and the State Council.
The ministries demanded in the notice that HEIs set aside needed funding for the prevention of 2019-nCoV by adjusting their existing expenditure structure, as a matter of urgency, reflecting their mission and political accountability. They strongly recommended that resources be allocated first to procurement of personal protective equipment, food, daily necessities, and medical supplies, such as equipment for emergency treatment, isolation of suspected cases, and conversion of facilities for quarantine purposes. Research-oriented HEIs were also urged to devote part of the expenditure to researching the traceability, transmissibility, and transmission mechanisms of the virus.
HEIs were urged to pay special attention to supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds, given that they were especially vulnerable in times of crisis, to make sure targeted assistance to them was not disrupted by the epidemic and emergency response measures, including postponing of the start of the new semester.
The ministries also called on HEIs to improve the procedures, working methods and efficiency of their finance departments by making full use of ICT tools, during a time when travel to campuses was restricted, and self-isolation measures encouraged.