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Chinese officials ready for training at Harvard
www.chinaview.cn 2005-08-22 08:28:22

    BEIJING, Aug. 22 -- More Chinese officials are expected to receive training in the United States, as both sides consider extending a joint programme at Harvard University, education officials said yesterday.

    "We are looking at the possibility of continuing the China's Leaders in Development Programme beyond the initial projected five-year period," said David Ellwood, dean of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government (KSG).

    Sixty-one local and central government officials, the fourth batch since 2002, arrived in the US on Saturday to take courses on public administration and international development issues, school sources said.

    The programme, launched by the State Council Development Research Centre at Tsinghua University and Harvard University to train around 60 Chinese officials each year, expires in 2006.

    "The discussions (of extending the programme) are at an early stage and will also depend on consultation with our Chinese partners," Ellwood told China Daily.

    "In addition, we are looking at a number of other possible collaborations but these are in a very early phase of discussion."

    Executive Associate Dean of Tsinghua University's School of Public Policy and Management Xue Lan said his institution expects to maintain a steady and strong co-operation with Harvard in terms of training government officials.

    "The training sessions at Tsinghua and Harvard, which are complementary, have turned out to be tremendously helpful in upgrading the skill levels of officials," he said.

    "We'd like to work together to ensure even better-quality courses in the years ahead."

    Sun Xiaoyu, vice-minister of the State Council Development Research Centre, yesterday confirmed programme partners have yet to finalize the discussions on future collaboration after their first partnership runs its course next year.

    The training mission arranges for Chinese mayors and other high-level government officials to attend a six-week crash course at Tsinghua University focusing on the key economic and social issues in China.

    They will then spend another five weeks at Harvard for instruction, training and local site visits to government agencies and business enterprises.

    Herman B Leonard, a professor of Public Management at KSG, said: "We believe the programme has helped our participants form a more comprehensive and strategic view of China's challenges and opportunities - and of how they can better face those challenges and take advantage of those opportunities."

    Programme candidates are usually high-ranking local and national government leaders under 45 years of age. A majority of the participants are men, but this year's class is comprised of more women than ever before, Xue said, without specifying numbers.

    With the case study method of instruction, the classes are designed to help Chinese officials think about governance challenges in an increasingly international and market-oriented economy, Ellwood said.

    Many participants say they have benefited from having the opportunity to see how their counterparts around the world have addressed challenges similar to those they are facing.

    Shi Meilan, an official with the National School of Administration, who participated in last year's training, said that although she had read about public administration case studies before she went to the US, it was what she learned at the Harvard campus that was really impressive.

    "There are many things that you just couldn't learn from textbooks," she told the Southern People weekly. "I think the case study method should be disseminated in China's administration institutes."

    Funding for China's Leaders in Development Programme comes from private donors.

(Source: China Daily)

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