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Hainan's pilot zone campus kicks off hopeful autumn semester

By CHEN BOWEN | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-10-09 20:19

Students perform at the Orientation for the 2023 Autumn Semester at the Lingshui Li'an International Education Innovation Pilot Zone in South China's Hainan province on Oct 8. [Photo by Chen Bowen/chinadaily.com.cn]

On Sunday, more than 1,200 students, teachers and guests attended the Orientation for the 2023 Autumn Semester at the Lingshui Li'an International Education Innovation Pilot Zone in South China's Hainan province.

"In the past three years, the pilot zone has achieved remarkable results in school running, development and construction, talent training and other aspects, becoming an important window and business card for the opening up of education in Hainan and China," said Chen Huaiyu, vice-governor of Hainan province, in a welcome speech.

Since its establishment in 2020, the pilot zone has signed cooperation agreements with 10 domestic universities and 12 overseas higher education institutions. The pilot zone now has more than 2,000 teachers and students, with that number expected to reach 10,000 by 2025, and 30,000 by 2035, according to the pilot zone's administration.

Li'an is one of the 13 key parks in the construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port. It adopts the operational philosophy of "big sharing plus small college", which promotes the sharing of public teaching buildings, libraries, sports venues, student dormitories and other public facilities. It also carries out innovative educational reform practices such as mutual learning between China and foreign countries, communication of arts and sciences, integration of disciplines, curriculum selection, accreditation, and management consultation.

It is committed to creating a new benchmark for the opening up and development of China's education, a test field for China's educational reform and innovation, and a centralized display window for Sino-foreign educational exchanges and mutual learning, according to the administration.

Wang Yingyu, a freshman at the Communication University of China-Coventry College, said she'd been to Li'an before applying for the school.

"My first impression was the zone is big, the campus environment is beautiful, the hardware facilities look advanced, and there are many supporting facilities under construction," she said.

Wang added that the curriculum design is quite novel, and under the philosophy of "big sharing plus small college", students can learn knowledge from different majors.

"Everything here is by big sharing. Big sharing of education, resources, and the students themselves. To create an educational community is very good for Hainan and China," said Ian Clark, the zone's senior consultant with the education and teaching center. "Li'an is a new park, but we've been working hard to ensure that we develop the zone in an international way. I think we will become a world leader in innovating education."

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