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Print Edition> Forum
UPDATED: August 1, 2011 NO. 31 AUGUST 4, 2011
Should Billionaires Be a University Yardstick?

Finally, making a show of these billionaires is not the original purpose of PKU. Just as its president Zhou Qifeng said, all businessmen alumni should remember the responsibility of being students of PKU and become pioneers in social welfare while pursuing economic benefits. Seen from this     point of view, we can learn PKU's action is momentum as well as pressure on those extremely successful and rich entrepreneurs. PKU wants them to realize a common spirit the university has advocated ever since its foundation by rewarding society.

Instead of criticizing them, it's more meaningful to learn from successful PKU graduates.

Wan Xiaoyang (news.ifeng.com): PKU can be No.1 in terms of cultivating powers in business, it can also be No.1 in creating masters.

There are many kinds of high-caliber personnel in the world, such as academic masters and elites in the business world. It's a great success to have cultivated many of the former kind, and also a success to have created many of the latter. Intellectually and materially successfully, they both realize values in life with what college education has given them and are important powers for propelling social progress and development.

If PKU can rank first on a list as far as the number of billionaires is concerned, it may also rank first in terms of masters and philanthropists tomorrow. That's the most sincere hope of their alma mater.

Misleading standard

Zhao He (www.chinacourt.org): Evaluating a university shouldn't be based on the number of billionaires it has produced. Even though PKU ranks first on the list, it doesn't show how successful the university is since the goal of a university should be cultivating masters in different fields rather than magnates.

Currently, the directions of China's college education are still ambiguous. Gaining fame and economic benefits has begun to invade the pure land of college campus.

Magnates are not cultivated in universities but trained in the real business world. But masters and high-caliber personnel with greater social responsibility can be cultivated by universities. I hope universities don't take nurturing successes in business as their pride and rich people shouldn't feel superior to others just because they graduated from famous universities. What's more important is what they can do for the country and society with what they achieve.

Li Zhiqiang (news.163.com): From the conventions of the world, first-class universities are termed so because they have nurtured many outstanding scientists, litterateurs, educationists, philosophers and poets rather than successful politicians and business magnates.

The real honor and pride of a university should be the number of masters it has produced that can push forward academic development and artistic creation. It's the natural responsibility and mission of universities to carry forward the spirit of leading society.

Foreign or domestic, evaluating a university should be based on the contributions it has made in preserving the human spirit and civilization.

Superior universities in the world, such as Oxford and Harvard, have more than 20 Nobel Prize winners and academic masters of world-class status. What about us? On the campus, the essence of college education is deteriorating. What should we rely on to preserve the spiritual essence of Chinese society in the future? Is it possible to rely on sucessful business alumni to do that? Absolutely not.

Shi Yanping (blog.qq.com): It is a contribution of PKU to have nurtured so many billionaires during the past decade. But society doesn't function only because of a wealthy and elite class. Only if all industries and classes are well organized will a stable society be built. For instance, some rich people go for real estate management, but the premise is houses are built by professional engineers. The former could be billionaires but the latter may be only normal people. PKU shouldn't grade the social contributions these two types of people make to society according to the money they make and shouldn't feel prouder of the former than of the latter.

It's not wrong to cultivate future magnates, but PKU shouldn't take that as its goal. The real goal of universities should be educating high-caliber personnel with greater social responsibility and social ideals. If PKU has turned into a magnate-manufacturing factory rather than nurturing students to promote progress in society, it has gone too far from its public responsibility and become the slave of wealth.

Yang Hongbing (www.dzwww.com): Instead of being factories for manufacturing billionaires, world-class universities should be bases for making scientific breakthroughs, for preserving human civilization, for improving students' souls and for creative ideas.

In the eyes of the people, first-class universities should be graded on the number of international masters they have produced and the scientific achievements and social contributions they have made, rather than the number of billionaires they have produced, because universities should be the public resources of all of society.

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