The Ministry of Education, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance of China jointly issued a new Midwest Higher Education Revitalization Plan (2012-2020) on May 22, 2013. The website of the Ministry of Education indicated that the Plan aims to achieve that in 2020 Higher Education in Midwest China will become more comprehensive and significantly improve in quality.
According to the Plan the development and reform of the Midwest higher education will be the main step to accelerate the overall development of the central and western region in China. In 2012, the Midwest university students accounted for 65% of China’s total. Overall, the education infrastructure in central and western universities is still lagging behind, which has become a bottleneck in the development of Higher Education in Midwest China.
China will invest 10 billion RMB (approx. 1.2 billion euro) to support 100 regular undergraduate institutions in 23 provinces including Hebei, Shanxi, Liaoning, Jilin, Jiangxi, Henan and Hubei. The main focus will be put on improving physical infrastructure and building new MOE key research laboratories and engineering research centres. The Plan also encourages setting up research bases in the fields of humanities and social sciences and supports basic research by creating more opportunities for research funding in natural science, philosophy and social science. 6 billion RMB will be spent on building MOE affiliated universities in 14 provinces.
The Plan also supports over a thousand university presidents to take training programmes abroad in 2012 – 2016. Increasing college enrolment for Midwest students was also mentioned in the plan. It will provide opportunities for 185,000 Chinese Midwest students to study at universities in the eastern part of China.