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Shantou University-A Rising Star with Great Potential

Between 24-26th December, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director of QS Intelligence Unit was invited to visit Shantou University, the only university funded by Sir Li Ka-shing, the richest  person in Asia( based on 2014 Bloomberg Billionaires Index), with a net worth of $31.9 billion.

(Sir Li Ka-Shing spoke at the annual graduation ceremony of Shantou University)

 

Here is an update of her visit.

I have envisaged many times in dreams to visit Shantou University. When I actually visited it, I would certainly say it is far beyond any expectation, although in a different way.

I have been a big fan of Sir Li Ka-shing since the first time I read about his story, but not by how successful he is as a business leader, but by all the great virtues he has demonstrated throughout his career as a kind and humble man. I got to know Shantou University when I was watching a documentary of Li, when 1/4 of the documentary was talking about the tremendous efforts made by all stakeholders to create Shantou University in 1981 and develop it into one of the most enterprising and emerging university in Shantou, a less-well developed coastal area of Southeast China.

Shantou was one of the original Special Economic Zones of the People’s Republic of China established in 1981, but did not blossom in the same manner that cities such as ShenzhenXiamen and Zhuhai did.  I guess when Shantou University was first created, Li Ka-Shing would expect Shantou University to seize the great opportunity of the newly established Special Economic Zone and develop quickly. However, the overall economic development in Shantou has not been that quick as expected. This also impact on the development of the university.

(A picture of Shantou Special Economic Zone)

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QS Invited to attend lectures featuring 2 Top Chinese Universities Presidents

On 27th November, 2014, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, was invited to attend 2 lectures at Oxford University.

This lecture featuring speeches by the presidents of two leading universities in China, Prof. Peng Long, President of Beijing Foreign Studies University and Prof. Zhang Jie, President of Shanghai Jiaotong University.

(A photo of St Anne College, Oxford University)

 

The event took place at St Anne’s College, Oxford University. Being one of Oxford’s largest colleges, with some 420 undergraduates and 250 graduates, St Anne’s College aims to “prepare the students for the globally connected society of the future“. Maybe, there could not be a better place in Oxford to host those two distinguished Presidents of Chinese leading Universities.

There are about 100 Chinese students and staff who are studying/working at Oxford who attended the lectures. Besides leading Chinese media organisations based in the UK, QS is only external organisations invited to this interesting event.

Founded in 1941, the Beijing Foreign Studies University  is the first foreign language university and offering the most language programs in the China. It is a small and specialised university, with only 7,000 registered students(5,000 are full-time undergraduates, 1,000 graduate students, and 1,000  overseas students). However, being the top Chinese universities specialised in foreign language cultivation(teaching 58 languages). By 2020, BFSU plans to teach 70 languages, with the ultimate goal of 90. With 80,000 alumni, more than 400 graduates become ambassadors, 1000 graduates become counsellors and therefore BFSU is dubbed the “diplomat’s cradle” of China.

The event started with President Peng Long talking on “The Chinese Economic Transformation- Characteristics of the Third Waves of Chinese Economic Reform”. President Peng is a known expert in China on International Finance and Stock Investment. He is also the Vice Chairman of China Association of International Trade, which is the professional body for experts in China on international trade.

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(President Peng Long, Beijing Foreign Studies University spoke on  “The Chinese Economic Transformation- Characteristics of the Third Waves of Chinese Economic Reform” at Oxford University)

 

He was very charismatic, he started his speech with a joke, “although I was responsible for one of the most prestigious Chinese universities on foreign language studies, I myself is not good at speaking English. I was too nervous last night to fall asleep because I was so busy practising my speech in English. I was much more relieved that I was told earlier that I could speak Chinese”, everyone in the lecture broke into laughters. President Peng, gave a very brave and frank speech to the audience, on his understanding of all the major economic reforms since the foundation of the PRC, especially the opening-up of the 1978, as well as the latest proposal of the Central Chinese Government to upgrade its industrial structure to be more innovation and knowledge driven. The audience was very impressed by his speech, some of the current Oxford students even start to ask questions to the President about how to become a staff of the university when they finished their studies at Oxford!

 

The ranking of BFSU in QS World University Ranking 2012 Arts and Humanity was 177,BRICS 2014 rankings was 87

 

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director enjoyed an interesting conservation with Prof. Peng Long, BFSU President on the international strategy. President Peng was surprised to find that Dr. Christina Yan Zhang was from Nanjing-a city where he had been working for a long time during his academic career. He extended an invitation to Dr. Christina Yan Zhang and asked her to visit him and other senior leaders of Beijing Foreign Studies University when she was in Beijing again. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang accepted the invite and wish President Peng every success in his role leading the university to an unprecedented new height.

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(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, enjoyed an interesting discussion with Prof. Peng Long, President, Beijing Foreign Studies University on the international strategy.)

The second speaker of the day is Prof. Zhang Jie, the President of Shanghai Jiaotong University, a top 5 Chinese university(based on QS World University Ranking )who gave a speech on “University Governance: the people-oriented incentives system ”.  Dr. Christina Yan Zhang also enjoyed a great conversation with Prof. Zhang Jie, who kindly agreed to meet her and Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit the following day in London despite packed timetable flying back home in China.

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(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, as an invited VIP guest that night, was introduced to Prof. Zhang Jie, President, Shanghai Jiaotong University, one of the top Chinese mainland universities.)

All the VIPs guests invited took a group photo together with 2 universities presidents and promised to stay in touch for future collaborations.mmexport1418208673871

 

 

 

 

 

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QS Founder met Peking University Chairman

On 5th November 2014, Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and Managing Director of Quacquarelli Symonds, and Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit were invited to meet Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Peking University Council.

Peking University

Peking University is one of the most prestigious universities in mainland China. It was founded in 1898 as a replacement of the ancient GuoZiJian-the Imperial College, which is the highest educational administration in feudal China. Ever since its foundation, Peking University has consistently played a leading role in forming progressive thoughts for China and have been influential in many major Chinese events in history, including China’s New Culture Movement, May Fourth Movement, just to name a few.

Nowadays, Peking University has been widely recognised as China’s top university in many different domestic and international universities rankings. For example, Peking University was ranked No. 57 in the 2014 QS World University Ranking, No.2 in QS BRICS Universities Ranking, and No. 8 in QS Asian University Ranking.

Peking University is located on the former site of Qing Dynasty royal gardens and retains Chinese-style landscaping as well as many traditional buildings. It is known for having one of the most beautiful campuses in mainland China.

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(The beautiful campus of Peking University)

It is not the first time that QS leaders have visited Peking University. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit has met President Wang EnGe and other senior leaders of Peking University a few times before at Peking University. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang was also invited to join universities presidents, vice-chancellors from more than 20 countries in May 2014 to participate in a high level summit hosted by Peking University on the future of cultivating innovative talents around the world.

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(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit met Prof. Wang EnGe, President of Peking University)

The way Dr. Christina Yan Zhang got to know Chairman Zhu Shan Lu was a bit unusual. At a previous meeting with senior leaders of Peking University in June 2014, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang met an old gentleman who came downstairs to the VIP meeting room to check if the room was available. Christina said Hi to the old gentleman without knowing who he was. The old gentleman asked Christina if the room was available for meeting now. Christina said unfortunately not, because she was asked to stay in the room for a meeting with senior leaders of Peking University. Christina introduced herself and QS, as one of the world’s top 3 most influential world university rankings, to the old gentlemen and gave him her business card. Interestingly enough, the old gentleman warmly welcomed the presence of Dr. Christina Yan Zhang to Peking University and showed strong interest in the work of QS.

He said to Dr. Christina Yan Zhang that he would like to see Peking University working closely with QS to implement the UN’s millennium Goal to develop universities to suit the future needs of the world. The old gentleman kindly insisted that Dr. Christina Yan Zhang to stay in the VIP meeting room to wait for her hosts in the university for meeting, while he turn around and asked a young gentleman standing behind to find an alternative meeting room nearby. The old gentleman was very much enjoying talking to Christina that he extended his personal invite to get other senior leaders of QS to visit Peking University soon to discuss opportunities for collaboration. Throughout the process, this old gentleman did not introduce himself to Christina at all. Out of curiosity, Christina asked the two waitresses standing outside the VIP rooms who the old gentleman was. The two waitress told Christina that he was Chairman Zhu Shan Lu, the No. 1 leader in Peking University (more important than President Wang Engge) who enjoyed the same political rank as the Chinese Minister of Education). That is how the two get to know each other.

When meeting again, Chairman Zhu Shao Lu thanked Dr. Christina Yan Zhang for keeping her promise and brought the founder of QS to Peking University for discussion on collaborations.

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(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit met Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Peking University Council.)

Unlike Christina, it is the first time that Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder of QS visited this top university in China. Nunzio was very grateful towards Chairman Zhu for inviting him to visit Peking University. He started talking about his education experience as a bachelor student of Cambridge University and started to praise Peking University for having such beautiful campus which reminded him of his great university time study in Cambridge. Chairman Zhu Shanlu thought very highly of the work QS has been doing over the decades to assist the international strategy of universities worldwide through a wide range of data-driven services and research.

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(Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and Managing Director of Quacquarelli Symonds, and Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, and Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Peking University Council met to discussed a wide range of potential partnership opportunities between two organisations.)

The meeting lasted for more than one hour, both leaders enjoyed the meeting too much that Chairman Zhu was half an hour late for his following meeting. Vice President Prof. Li Yan Song, Dr. Zheng Ru Qing,Deputy Director, Office Of International Relations, Dr. Yan Chun Hua, Deputy Registrar, and other senior leaders of Peking University also participated in the meeting.

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(A group photo of all the leaders from QS and Peking University who participated in the meeting. From Left to right: Dr. Guo Cong Bing, Deputy Director, Office of the Chairman& President, Peking University; Prof. Li Yan Song, Vice President, Peking University, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit; Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and Managing Director, QS; Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Council, Peking University; Dr. Yan Chun Hua, Deputy Registrar; Dr. Zheng Ru Qing, Deputy Director, Office Of International Relations)

A wide range of partnership opportunities have been discussed and agreed at the meeting. Both sides are very pleased with the outcome of the meeting.

Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Peking University Council also presented a gift from Peking University to Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and Managing Director of Quacquarelli Symonds, and Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit to thank QS for the visit.

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(Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Peking University Council gave the gift to Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and Managing Director of QS, and Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit)

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IMG_1797(Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and Managing Director of Quacquarelli Symonds, and Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Peking University Council holding hands together in the air, aim to build a close partnership between QS and Peking University. )

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QS University Rankings: BRICS to be launched in Beijing

The annual QS BRICS Conference will take place on the 18th of June in China, in Beijing. The 2014 QS University Rankings: BRICS will be launched during the opening session of the event. To register click here.  Join higher education leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa to discuss institutional development, internationalization, student and academic mobility, academic recruitment and research collaboration.  Read more

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Internationalisation of Chinese RMB: Opportunities for universities?

What has been one of the most interesting discussions in the financial world of London, it must be all the buzz on the internationalisation of the Chinese currency RMB.

Since 2003, China has initiated various policies to internationalize its currency. London has been very lucky to become an important host as a centre for renminbi (RMB) business outside China, since its launching on 18 April 2012.

Based on the press release from the HM Treasury and The Rt Hon George Osborne MP, In October 2013, London accounts for 62% of global RMB trading conducted outside of China and Hong Kong, and 28% of all international RMB payments, more than Singapore. The Guardian reported that the daily trade of RMB in London was about £3.1bn since 2012.

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(The rapid rise of using the Chinese currency to settle international trade and other financial accounts around the world since the start of the internationalisation of the RMB in the 2000s)

Obviously, this is such a big deal for people who are working in the financial sector in the UK, as well as overseas. But what does this mean to universities around the world? To manage such a massive transition in the financial sector around the world also means the huge demand of new talents needed. That is how some universities respond to this big opportunity, such as Nottingham University in the UK.

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit was invited to join leaders of Nottingham University for a visit in China to witness the official launch The Guangdong Nottingham Advanced Finance Institute on 15th April 2014.

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Between 2003-2010, there is a phenomenal growth in the Chinese financial market, which see the rapid rise of need to cultivate talents specialised in international finance from 2.8 million to 3.7 million, with an increase of 29%.

To meet this demand on talent cultivate, this institution was formed as a collaborative provision between the UK’s Nottingham University, Guangdong Provincial Government, China’s Guangdong University of Finance. The accounting and finance course in Nottingham University is also included in the QS World University Ranking by Subjects 2014. You could click here to find out more information.

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(Professor Sir David Greenaway, the sixth Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham spoke at the official launch of this joint-venture)

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(Dr. Lu Lei, President, Guangdong University of Finance spoke at the launch of the joint UK-China Financial Institute. Dr. Lu Lei was the youngest president of this university and he was later promoted to become the youngest ever Head of the Research Bureau of the People’s Bank of China, “the brain” which decides the key policies of the central Bank of China).

This Institute aims to:
1. Build a platform to transfer advanced financial knowledge between the UK and China;
2. Access to London’s leading financial expertise and talent pool;
3. Develop multilevel talent for China, especially South China for its financial service sector;
4. Establish a cutting edge knowledge and expert base to advance research and development in financial innovations.

The majority of students this institute would be targeting are on-the-job training and higher level professional development working in the financial sectors in South China, with top lecturers drawing from China, UK and beyond.

At the end of the official launch, senior representatives from Nottingham University(Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor; Professor Hai-Sui Yu, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation; Professor Nick Miles; Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Provost, University of Nottingham Ningbo China; Professor Chris Rudd, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for External Engagement ), British Embassy in Guangzhou(Alastair Morgan, Consular-General, British Consulate-General Guangzhou);Dr. Lu Lei, President, Guangdong University of Finance; and representatives from the Guangdong Provincial Government.

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No better time to look at BRICS universities

Since Jim O’Neill, former chief economist at Goldman Sachs, coined the acronym “BRIC” in 2001 to describe four of the world’s fastest growing economies (namely Brazil, Russia, India and China), the BRIC countries have been under scrutiny, and has even been the subject of a forum organised by Columbia University, which they labelled BRICLAB. BRIC added an S in 2010 when South Africa joined the group. These five countries, making up more than 40% of the world’s total population, have reached a point where their further economic development is strongly correlated with the way they build quality higher education systems.

In fact, earlier this year, a comparative study of the BRICS higher education systems by Stanford scholars was published. University Expansion in a Changing Global Economy: Triumph of the BRICs? takes a close look at how the massive higher education expansion in Brazil, Russia, India and China is having a significant impact on the world supply of university graduates – particularly engineers and computer scientists. This expansion may also shift, at least partially, the locus of future development in the global knowledge economy towards the BRICS countries.

Perhaps a sign of the important role the BRICS are increasingly playing in matters of education, Ministers of Education from the five BRICS countries agreed to join forces with UNESCO to support education progress globally through coordinated actions and advocacy during a landmark consultation organized on the margins of the 37th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference in Paris this past November. UNESCO’s Director-General said at the opening of the consultation:
“Your countries have enormous potential individually to influence global education trends – this power is multiplied through collective action, through the experience you can share, through your growing roles as development partners, and through the new approaches you are developing for international cooperation.”

This is why there is perhaps no better time to look at the BRICS countries from a university rankings perspective. QS has been publishing a global university ranking – QS World University Rankings since 2004, and two regional rankings – QS Asian University Rankings since 2009 and QS Latin America Rankings since 2011. In December 2013, QS, in conjunction with the Russian news agency Interfax, will launch its first BRICS University Rankings. The BRICS will undoubtedly play a crucial role in tomorrow’s higher education landscape; however, they will also have to tackle massive challenges, such as quality education for all as only a minority of students go to the elite institutions that are considered world-class.

Find out the results of the first BRICS University Rankings on 17th December 2013 on topuniversities.com. In the meantime, please find more information on this post or on iu.qs.com/brics/ to register for the QS BRICS University Forum in Moscow on 17-18th December.

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First ranking of BRICS countries- out 17th December

QS is to publish the first bespoke ranking for universities in the so-called BRICS countries next month.

Like its other regional rankings, the one for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will have measures and weightings designed specifically for the group of countries concerned, rather than simply representing an edited version of previously published results.

In order to make valid comparisons between more universities than have precise positions in the QS World University rankings, and to reflect common priorities in the five countries, the new ranking will contain eight measures. They will include the proportion of staff with a PhD and the number of papers published per faculty member.

QS has worked with Interfax, the Russian news agency, to produce the new ranking. Interfax was commissioned by Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science, earlier this year and chose QS to compile the ranking because of its experience with regional and subject comparisons. The ministry has ceded control of the design of the ranking and any editorial content. The results of the pilot study will be presented at a conference in Moscow on December 17.

The ranking has also been discussed with India’s Minister for Human Resources and Development, Dr ShashiTharoor, and the Education Secretary, Ashok Thakur. Both are encouraging Indian institutions to participate in and submit data to international rankings to see if such comparisons can help them.

Dr Juliana Bertazzo, Higher Education Policy Adviser and coordinator of the Brazilian project ‘Science without Borders’, as well as Dr Renato Prado Guimarães, Secretary General at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, were also supportive of the new project, which will highlight the strengths of the universities of these emerging markets.

More than 400 universities across the five countries have been assessed for the new ranking. Only the top 100 will appear in the initial publication.

The methodology will be similar to those used for QS’s regional rankings for Asia and Latin America. Academic reputation will be the most heavily-weighted indicator, but at less than the 40 per cent weighting it receives in the QS World University Rankings.

Ben Sowter, who is responsible for the exercise as head of the QS Intelligence Unit, said the results would be valuable because the five nations had comparable characteristics that led to the development of the “BRICS” term in the first place. The company did not intend to include other emerging nations with few similarities simply because it had the capability to do so.

Jim O’Neill, who coined the term as chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said this month that the group remained a valid point of comparison, although Indonesia could have been included. Between them, they already represented a bigger market than the United States and would play important roles in the future, he said in a speech in London.

QS is to work with the Indian Centre for Assessment & Accreditation (ICAA), a private accreditation body, on a separate evaluation of Indian universities to be published next year. Dr Arun Nigavekar, the ICAA’s founder and a former chairman of the University Grants Commission, said the aim for Indian exercise was to create a system that was “globally accepted, yet locally grounded”.