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
"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
"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
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
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)