University introduces 3-term year
Sun Yat-sen University will switch to a three-term school year when the new academic year begins in September.
The university is the first institute in Guangdong to adopt the policy.
According to the university, the three terms will consist of an 18-week autumn semester, an 18-week spring semester and a four-week semester.
The curriculums of the two long semesters are more or less unchanged, while the short term is designed especially for students to engage in social activities or to do elective courses according to their interests.
University vice-president, Chen Chunsheng, said a year had been spent preparing for the reform. 'The three-term policy is the beginning of improvements,' he said. He said measures were being taken to ensure the reforms run smoothly.
Doctoral graduates will be hired as assistants for new teaching programmes for each school and open discussion classes will be introduced. The new short term, which will take place immediately after the summer break, would give students more practical experience, he said.
Many students support the reforms. Xiao Hai, an administration major, said students would enjoy more freedom in their studies as they would have more opportunities to gain practical experience and more choices for elective courses.
Meanwhile, student Zheng Mian said he thought the short semester was the key to education reform, as students could take advantage of it to achieve personal development.
But some students remained unconvinced by the change.
Student Zhao Zhixun said: 'There is no difference between two terms and three terms if the teaching facility and the quality of teaching staff remains the same.'
She also complained that the university never solicited students' opinions when it came to implementing new policies.