Speaking with The PIE News, Pro Vice Chancellor at Chinese University Hong Kong, Gorden Cheung, said the Ministry of Education wants to use the initiative as a sample case of how to operate a non-profit foreign university in the country.
“Our Vice Chancellor set the tone that we are trying to [provide] a service to the education sector in China,” he said. “We need to showcase to them how to run a world-class university. That is our premise,” said Cheung.
“The Shenzhen government has given us the hardware and we will provide the software”
The university will be non-profit with most funding coming from tuition fees, donations and the Shenzhen Municipal government and research subsidies.
About 100 hectares have been allocated for the campus in southern China, just across the Hong Kong border and a 20-minute train ride from CUHK’s main campus. “The Shenzhen government has given us the hardware and we will provide the software,” said Cheung.
Planning for the university began four years ago when CUHK started a task force to explore the feasibility. By February, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Shenzhen Municpal government and in October of last year official approval was granted at a ceremony at the campus’s proposed site. Final agreements to “fine-tune details of the collaboration” were made last month.
Cheung said there was a clear purpose in choosing the rapidly developing city in the Pearl River Delta region for the university’s location.
“Most of the better known universities in China are in the North. When you go to the South you can’t find as many. Thirty years ago Shenzehn was a small fishing village with about 5,000 people living there. Now there are about 14-18 million.”
Instruction will be in both Chinese and English with an emphasis on general education. The first course offerings will include programmes in science, engineering, economics, management and humanities as well as a new model to offer inter-disciplinary subjects.
The university will begin admitting students in phases with the ultimate goal of enrolling 11,000 in total- 6,000 undergraduates and 5,000 postgraduates.