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Zhou Qifeng: Overseas schools don't concern Peking U. president

Peking University's president said on Oct 18 he's not worried about the increasing number of overseas universities that are setting up branches on the Chinese mainland.


"Don't ignore the fact that universities in China still have a very large number of students to take in," Zhou Qifeng said. "I think it is helpful that foreign universities are entering the Chinese mainland, as it provides our students with more choices for education."


Zhou made the remarks after New York University Shanghai, the first institution of higher education jointly established by China and the United States, was established on Oct 15.


"I support students experiencing learning in other countries, as doing so will broaden their horizons," he said. "Even if they choose not to come back to China, more Chinese abroad can also improve China's power in the world."


Zhou made the comments during a meeting with the press featuring the upcoming 2012 World Innovation Summit for Education, which will take place in Doha, the capital of Qatar, in November.


Zhou has been on the judging panel for the award since 2009, when the summit began.


As he recalled the awards over the past four years, he said that projects from a total of 16 countries have won the award, but none of them is from China.


"China is a big country for education, and we've been talking a long time about education innovation," he said. "But China still has a lot to learn from other countries. Some of the WISE award-winning projects are creative and brilliant, such as a program by the BBC that provides cheap English learning through phone calls for people in Bangladesh."


Zhou also talked about the recent university rankings released by Times Higher Education magazine two weeks ago. The new annual list ranks Peking University No 46 worldwide, up from No 49 last year.


"One important factor in ranking universities is its international recognition, or, more precisely, the number of overseas students," Zhou said. "Now 7 percent of students in Peking University are from overseas, and I hope to increase that to 20 percent."


He also said he hopes Peking University will be able to offer all of its students the chance to study abroad in the future.


Reported by: Zhang Yue
Source: China Daily
Edited by: Arthars