A new government plan to create "world class" universities in the coming decades could be undermined by the Communist Party's determination to keep a firm ideological grip over education, analysts say. To create institutions that can compete with the best, teachers and administrators must have independence to structure the learning environment, they argue. In a plan released last Thursday, the State Council called for the nation to become "a world power of higher education" by 2050. Some disciplines and institutions should be elevated to global standard by 2020, and the number should be increased over the ensuing decade, it said, without giving specifics or criteria. The blueprint also called for stronger party leadership and ideological work at higher education institutions. But the two goals could be difficult to reconcile, according to Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute. "To become a world-class university, the priority should be on a modern and independent governance system within the school," Xiong said. Read more: Three Chinese universities vow to strengthen ideological control over students, teachers The party retains a strong hold over campuses through member committees, although university presidents are in charge of daily operations. President Xi Jinping last year called for greater "ideological guidance" in universities and urged greater study of Marxism. Education Minister Yuan Guiren followed up the remarks in January, saying classrooms should be purged of foreign textbooks that "spread Western values". Those calls have worried many experts at home and abroad amid concerns that ideological control will further stifle academic exchanges. After the State Council's announcement, Peking University president Lin Jianhua said the school would bring forward its plan to achieve "world class" standards by 2030, The Beijing News reported. It originally hoped to reach that level by 2048. Read more: Enemy infiltrators targeting China's students and teachers, education chief says Xiong said eliminating red-tape in education was fundamental for universities and higher institutions to gain more autonomy in teaching and research. "Chinese universities do not need to be modelled after Harvard or Cambridge. They can have their own characteristics, but autonomy is key for future reform of the education system," Xiong said.