According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, the years between 2012 and 2017 saw more than 200 colleges and universities change their names.
Most acts of renaming are apparently undertaken for pragmatic purposes. When a college is upgraded into a comprehensive university, the local education authorities and administrations of these colleges believe that a splendid new name will gain greater attention, as it is widely agreed upon in China that universities are superior to colleges. Sometimes these colleges have indeed expanded recruitment once their nomenclature had been changed to that of a university.
Colleges must stop unnecessarily changing names and reverse the trend of blindly developing into comprehensive and multi-discipline universities. They should be required to spend their limited resources on their own distinctive fields and further enhance their current capabilities based on these disciplines. In recent years, name changes have mainly taken place in local undergraduate colleges and universities, and higher vocational schools. Most of them are driven by pragmatism, not because they need to do so.
It's also important for education authorities to change the current assessment system for higher education institutions. If colleges enjoy the same treatment as universities, and junior colleges and academies the same as undergraduate universities, then universities and colleges will be more content with their current position and thus concentrate fully on academic research as they should.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Guangming Daily on February 5)