Shanghai adjusts university majors to match industrial needs

Updated: Mar 20, 2024 By ZHOU WENTING in Shanghai China Daily Print
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Institutions of higher education in Shanghai will increase the proportion of students enrolled in science, engineering, agriculture and medicine to ensure the supply of talent matches major national strategies and the needs of the city's industrial development.

According to a document released by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission on Friday, the change also aimed to adjust the structure and scale of young talent cultivation and strengthen the supply of talent in key areas.

For the next three years, the proportion of master's degree students enrolled in those disciplines is slated to increase by 5 percentage points, while bachelor's degree students will increase by 10 percentage points, according to the document.

The disciplines include electronic information, life and health, automobiles, high-end equipment, advanced materials and fashion consumer goods, as well as newly emerging industries such as metaverse, green and low-carbon economy, digital economy and intelligent terminals.

They also include future-oriented industries to do with health, intelligence, energy, space and materials.

Enrollment in disciplines related to key industries and those showing an urgent need for talent will be prioritized for expansion.

For example, universities with departments that touch upon integrated circuits, biomedicine and artificial intelligence — Shanghai's three leading industries — will be guided to increase enrollment if their current student reservoir is small.

Shanghai-based Donghua University, formerly known as China Textile University, has opened new majors, including artificial intelligence, big data science and technology, and intelligent manufacturing and engineering in recent years. It has also provided two double bachelor's degree programs — textile engineering and product design, as well as environmental engineering and business administration.

The school's adjustment in majors is intended to support the new socioeconomic environment as well as the construction of a world-class university with distinctive characteristics, according to sources at Donghua University.

The document also specified that enrollment in majors with too many graduates will shrink, pointing out that art, management, law and some foreign languages are the main disciplines with too many students and a mismatch of the industries that graduates actually work in.

In November, several city-level authorities, including the Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, said that the city will cultivate another 200,000 highly skilled technicians by 2025.

Shanghai also expects highly skilled technicians will account for 35 percent or more of the city's technical workers. Measures will include mass training to improve occupational techniques and rendering support from social systems and policies.

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