Academic standards will not be compromised at a new school to be set up in Xian by Hong Kong’s University of Science and Technology, the university’s provost professor Wei Shyy said.
“A student earning a degree from HKUST, whether he is largely based in Xian or entirely based at Clear Water Bay, the quality of the programmes will have to be the same. Otherwise, we’ll be compromising our own academic standards,” Shyy said.
He said he understood the need to respect mainland laws, but that the university would still have plenty of flexibility by offering programmes in Hong Kong for visiting students from Xian. He said an agreement signed between HKUST and Xian Jiaotong University states that “academic freedom is to be respected at the school”.
Attending students will earn a dual degree from both universities. About 40 to 60 undergraduates will be admitted when the school opens for its first year. After that, 180 students will be accepted per year to study undergraduate programmes.
The school will also offer master’s and doctoral degrees.
Students will be required to come to Hong Kong to study at the Clear Water Bay campus for two summer semesters. “It’s important for them to be in Hong Kong for some portion of time so they can interact with our students here,” Shyy said.
He said the school would be governed by a board put together according to “the HKUST model” and will be headed by the school’s dean and consist of members from all 60 faculties. He said the board would not include any mainland officials.
The dean and department heads will be HKUST faculty members and employed by the university.
Students will pay about HK$120,000 per year in tuition to study at the Xian school – the same as non-local students pay to study at the Clear Water Bay campus.
“Student recruitment will be international. It’s not going to be only for mainland Chinese students or Hong Kong students. We want to see the school there be like the campus here,” Shyy said.
Several architectural firms were invited to submit proposals for the design of the school’s academic building, which will have about 25,000 square metres of usable area.
The design will be finalised in a year and construction of the building is expected to be finished in three to four years. Until then, students will have classes at another campus in Xian.