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Illuminated icons representing cyber security, left, and wireless 'wifi' connectivity. Photo: Bloomberg

China plans network of ‘influential’ cybersecurity schools

Four to six schools will be created over the next decade, as the industry struggles to meet demand for cybersecurity experts

China is planning four to six “world-renowned” cybersecurity schools by 2027, as it ramps up its efforts to build a strong army of professionals to combat cyber attacks, in an increasing digitalised world.

The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s top internet regulator, and the Ministry of Education said they will roll out the nationwide project over the next decade in order to create “internationally recognised and influential” schools for the training of cybersecurity talent.

The two are inviting Chinese universities, which have sizeable cybersecurity faculties, to sign up for the project.

Once the best have been chosen, they will be provided with policies and investment to remake themselves as leading cybersecurity schools, the Ministry said in a notice published on it website on Tuesday.

The ambitious plan comes within three months of China’s new Cybersecurity Law, which came into effect on June 1, fuelling the need for top talent to better protect the country’s 751 million people who actively connect with the internet, via a social network, to their bank accounts.

The two authorities said they will explore the possibilities of setting up juvenile classes too for children who show gifted skills in cybersecurity, as well as improving current training programmes for those who study cybersecurity in colleges and graduate schools.

Industry insiders say that China already has a strong community of cybersecurity professionals, but that supply just cannot meet demand.

Cybersecurity specialist have become one of the hottest jobs, with average annual pay increases of between 25 and 35 per cent, five percentage points higher than other jobs in IT, according to a recent survey by Hays, the global recruiting firm.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Mainland planning top schools for specialists