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Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: March 13, 2011 NO. 11 MARCH 17, 2011
Marriage Across the Pacific
New York University gains a foothold in Shanghai

TEAMWORK: Students conduct experiment in an inorganic and analytical chemistry laboratory in East China Normal University in Shanghai (LIU YING)

Fundraising has been a challenge for joint universities, said the China Youth Daily. The University of Nottingham Ningbo, whose start-up capital came from Wanli Education Group, currently depends on tuition fees for its operation, while Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University is backed by investment from the Suzhou Municipal Government.

"Pudong New Area will provide land and pay for the construction of NYU in Shanghai's campus and the equipment," Yu said. "We will also introduce private investment, including sponsorship by enterprises."

Another funding source is tuition. Yu said, "We will not charge greater tuition than what is permitted by the Ministry of Education. The tuition, not set at NYU's level, may not be as high as universities in Hong Kong and Macao."

Chinese undergraduate students in NYU in Shanghai will still need to be selected through the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), Yu said.

The Ministry of Education requires joint education institutions or programs granting Chinese diplomas or degrees can only recruit applicants with NCEE scores above the cut-off points for universities at corresponding levels, whereas those granting foreign diplomas or degrees must set recruitment standards no lower than their foreign parent universities.

But, recruiting students according to similar standards used by Chinese universities will invariably limit the source of students for joint universities, Xiong Bingqi, Vice President of the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Shanghai, told China Youth Daily.

When applicants must pass NCEE to enter a joint university, students from wealthy families would still choose to study abroad, while outstanding students not from wealthy families would opt for top domestic universities such as Tsinghua University or Peking University, Xiong said.

Another test for joint universities is how well their graduates are received by employers and society.

So far, three classes of students have graduated from the undergraduate programs of the University of Nottingham Ningbo. The school said all its graduates in 2008 and 2009 have either started working or pursued further education. Most students found jobs in multinational companies including big accounting firms and banks.

Shen Linlin, who obtained a Master's degree from the University of Nottingham Ningbo in 2007, told Ningbo Daily, a local newspaper, the Western teaching style taught her not only knowledge but also a way of thinking. After graduation, Shen found a job in the Australian Embassy in China.

Another graduate, Zhang Zhenyu, was offered a job by Imperial Metal Industries Plc., a British manufacturer of advanced and hi-tech products. Zhang said his education background in the joint university gave him confidence in the job interview. He was happy he got a job offer as good as any he could get if he had studied in the UK, and at much lower cost.

Almost all graduates of the University of Nottingham Ningbo in 2010 and about 97 percent of the first graduates of Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in 2010 chose to pursue graduate education abroad, said the China Youth Daily.

Although some graduates of these joint schools thought their education there was very helpful in landing jobs for them, employers say they do not particularly favor graduates of joint universities or programs.

Li Lei, a top executive of a foreign-funded medical instrument company, said he did not think graduates of joint universities are worse or better than their peers in Chinese universities.

"My principle is the applicant must be a graduate from a school certified by the Ministry of Education. Then I will look at his or her abilities and experience," Li said.

East China Normal University

Founded in 1951,overseen by the Ministry of Education of China, it has grown into a well-known institution of higher-learning with a good reputation in many fields.

New York University

With a history of about 180 years, it is one of the largest privaten universities in the United States. Currently, it enrolls more than 40,000 students.

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