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Another Look At Engineering Education In China Fuzhou University Revisited

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.99.1 - 3.99.4



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Tian S. Lim

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2660

Another Look At Engineering Education In China - Fuzhou University Revisited -

Tian S. Lim United States Naval Academy


In 1983 I took a sabbatical leave from the United States Naval Academy and accepted an invitation to go to China to teach for two semesters at Fuzhou University in the People s Republic of China. Fuzhou University, located in Fuzhou city, capital of Fujian province, is representative of engineering colleges in China. When I arrived in Fuzhou in the autumn of 1983, college admission rate in China was a mere 20%. There were 5,000 students and 1,500 faculty members in Fuzhou University. Tuition and student housing were free. Classes ran from Monday to Saturday. There were 43 weeks in an academic year. An average instructor taught four to six hours per week. When I revisited Fuzhou University in the autumn of 1997, many changes have occurred and many improvements have been made. College admission rate in China has risen to 50%. The student enrollment in Fuzhou University has doubled to 10,000. The number of full time faculty has also doubled to 3,000. Many new programs have been added.


China is a large country with a long history and civilization. It is still a developing country, being backward economically and technologically. Hoping to catch up with western countries, China launched an ambitious program of $four modernizations#: modernization of agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology. Of the four modernizations, the modernization of science and technology is the most important link in the readjustment of the national economy. The success and failure of this endeavor depends on the quality of engineering education at the Chinese universities. After the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, and the collapse of the Gang of Four in 1976, the Chinese government completely reorganized higher education. Engineering education is now given special emphasis.

In 1949, when the Communists took over China, there were 205 higher educational institutions in China, with a total enrollment of 116,500 students. By the end of 1983, the number of universities and colleges reached 805 with a total enrollment of 1,207,000 of which 35 percent, or 423,000, were undergraduate engineering students. Tuition, lodging, and medical care were free. Students paid for their food and textbooks. The cost of food was about $15 a month at Fuzhou University in 1983.

When I revisited Fuzhou University in 1997, the student enrollment has doubled, from 5,000 full-time students in 1983 to 10,000 in 1997. The number of full-time faculty has also doubled, from 1,500 in 1983 to 3,000 in 1997. An average instructor teaches six to eight hours a week. The monthly salary of a professor is about $250. The cost of food for a student has increased

Lim, T. S. (1998, June), Another Look At Engineering Education In China Fuzhou University Revisited Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--6917

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