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New College Admissions Pilot Focuses on Advanced Technology

The Ministry of Education issued a directive on January 15, 2020, saying that China has launched a new college admissions pilot program involving 36 top universities. The goal is to produce talent in areas critical to China’s national defense. Analysts view it as China’s attempt to alleviate the impact of the United States’ restrictions on China’s access to the West’s advanced technology.

On January 15, China’s Ministry of Education released the “Opinion on the Pilot Work of Basic Subject Enrollment Reform in Some Universities,” which is also called the “Strong Foundation Plan.” The ministry said that the pilot program aims to enroll students who can help alleviate the talent shortages in high-end chips and software, artificial intelligence technology, new materials, advanced manufacturing, and areas critical to national security,.

According to the Opinion on the pilot, those admitted will be trained in special programs and receive preferential treatment in terms of graduate studies, doctor’s degrees, overseas training, and scholarships. Once admitted into the pilot program, students cannot change their majors.

High school graduates in China normally need to take the national college entrance examination to be admitted to a university (gaokao). In the 2003 gaokao reform, 90 universities were allowed to use independent enrollment as an alternative admissions method. The pilot program eliminates independent enrollment.

Source: China’s Ministry of Education, January 15, 2020