University–Industry Interactions in the Global South
Edited by Eduardo Albuquerque, Wilson Suzigan, Glenda Kruss and Keun Lee
For the first few years after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese leadership encouraged universities to participate in industrial and agricultural production to buttress country-wide collective efforts to rehabilitate an economy devastated by civil war. The government asked universities to divert existing laboratories, pilot plants, and farms originally designed for training students to real production. Responding to the government’s call for “spare time production” and hoping to alleviate their own shortage of funds, universities set up “production committees” and tried to mobilize faculty members and students in industrial and agricultural production. China began to emulate the Soviet Union with its 1st Five-Year Plan (1953–1957). The salient features were enhanced central planning and the extended division of labour among different institutions (e.g., universities, public research institutes, and industrial firms). The engagement of universities in industrial or agricultural production was discouraged. Furthermore, universities were insulated from scientific research, which was regarded as the domain of public research institutes, such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences and other research institutes affiliated with various ministries. As a result, universities were largely restricted to education and training. Not until the early 1960s could universities apply to the government budget for scientific research (MOE 1999). Chinese universities in the early and mid-1950s were thus “ teaching universities.” The convergence with the Soviet Union was interrupted in the late 1950s.
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