Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Nankai University Binhai College

In the previous post (below, or here) I talked about our day at Nankai University Binhai College. Binhai is a new campus and they’re still building it. Nothing there is more than about three years old.

They have an interesting dynamic going on here between Nankai and Binhai. It is somewhat like our state system of universities and colleges in that they are clearly related to each other, but they have different missions and generally serve different populations. Binhai offers bachelor degrees but no graduate programs. Nankai is increasingly emphasizing graduate programs with about 50% of their students earning masters, doctorates, or others forms of graduate degrees.

Since Nankai is a highly rated university in the country, they get part of the cream of the crop of the entering college students, based primarily on the college entrance exam score. Nankai has a high percentage of seasoned professors with distinguished records. The state (China National Government) highly subsidizes the cost of attending the top universities so that the tuition paid by the students is very low.

Binhai provides an opportunity for students with lower scores (but still pretty good) to earn a degree and possibly get into a graduate program later on. Binhai also has many more young and less experienced professors although they also some older, semi-retired professors, many of them from Nankai. Seems somewhat like phased retirement. To me the most interesting piece is that colleges such as Binhai are not subsidized nearly as highly as the universities so the tuition rates that the students pay are about 10 times higher.

In the U.S., community colleges have the lowest tuition rates, universities are higher, and the elite universities are the highest. So in the U.S. you have to pay heavily to get your degree from one of the top universities, but in China the state awards you with low cost access to the top universities because you are one of the best and brightest. Gee, I wonder which country has figured this out the best. Yes, I understand that the public/private school dichotomy isn’t quite the same in China as in the U.S., but that just begs another question altogether.

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