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     Volume 2 Issue 20| May 16, 2010|


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Distant Diary

Live from China : A University with a Difference

Dr. Salehuddin Ahmed

IN one of my previous write-ups in Star Campus, I mentioned that there are more than 2000 Universities in China. Many are very big universities, each of which may have 20-70 thousand students. Then there are small ones having about 5000 students. One such University, University of Nottingham in Ningbo invited me to give a Seminar to the students and professors of their Business School. I found this University interesting, high quality and different among others in China. It was a great experience presenting Bangladesh, BRAC, Grameen, ASA, Microfinance, Development and Social Entrepreneurship. The presentation was well attended and was very well managed. The most interesting part was the discussion session we had after about an hour’s presentation including a video on BRAC. The discussion went on for about an hour. Both students and professors asked me many intelligent and inquisitive questions and made some very meaningful and valuable comments. I thought this was a great two-track learning experience. I was impressed by the level of the discussion we had. There was tremendous interest from the participants about our country, Microfinance and our development experiences. It was really very stimulating. I felt honoured that I could represent Bangladesh and the development community before the audience. They were also very interested to know about my work in China and how I would contribute to the poverty alleviation in China through the institution where I worked, i.e. International Poverty Reduction Centre in China (www.iprcc.org). My comments were well received and well understood.

At the end of the Seminar, to my surprise, the student leaders of an International Students Network, SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) gave me an appointment letter as the Advisor- member of their Business Advisory Board. I was deeply touched. Before the Seminar I met them in a separate meeting when I explained about our achievements in Bangladesh and the potential future of the country. They specially wanted to know about our Microfinance endeavours.

Since I was so impressed with the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC), I thought of writing about this University for the readers of Star Campus.

The UNNC is the first Sino-Foreign University in China approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education. The University of Nottingham, UK, runs the academic and management affairs of the University in cooperation with the Zhejiang Wanli Education Group. Professors and Teachers are recruited by the University of Nottingham, UK and most of them are Europeans having rich international experiences. The Wanli Education Group headed by Ms. Xu Yafen, is the first state (Zhejiang) owned but independently operated organization in China. It is at the cutting edge of educational reform. Since its establishment in 1993 the Group has invested huge amounts in creating an educational system ranging from kindergartens to Universities. UNNC is one of their prime institutions.

The UNNC has a very global mission statement : “Academic Excellence in the Service of Global Citizenship”. This means that The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China has committed itself to developing subjects that combine internationally ranked teaching and research excellence with Chinese needs for internationalisation and globalisation. This allows Chinese and foreign students to enjoy a world-class international education without the major expense of studying in the West. All undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Ningbo are conducted entirely in English with the same teaching and evaluation standards as at Nottingham UK. The University has the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) dedicated to teaching English for Academic Purposes. Students having a 6.5 score in IELTS can directly get admission in the main course. Students having 5.5 will have to attend a special English language program before entering the main course.

The University is located in Ningbo Higher Education Park on a newly built and dedicated campus with a land area of 887mu (15 mu = 1 hectare). It currently has over 4300 undergraduate and postgraduate students and more than 300 teaching and administrative staff from over 30 countries in the world. Chinese undergraduate students are selected from 23 different provinces using the Gao Kao, the Chinese College Entrance Exam.

Internationalisation is at the heart of the development of The UNNC. The University now has more than 180 international students from different countries. In the longer term they aim to have 25% of the student population international. Their internationalisation policy also means that students have the opportunity to study at The University of Nottingham UK or to go as exchange or study abroad students to study at other top universities around the world. On campus also students are encouraged to take part in diverse multicultural student-led activities. The fees of the University is comparatively higher in Chinese standards, but lower than western universities. An undergrad student has to pay about 80,000 Yuan ($1=Y6.80) and a post graduate student pays 90,000 Yuan per annum. Living costs would range from 2 to 4000 Yuan per month depending on your life styles. The university has accommodation facilities for all their students and most faculty members within the beautiful spread out campus with excellent greeneries and a graceful landscape. For knowing more about the University, please visit their well designed and informative website www.nottingham.edu.cn Let me say a little about the City of Ningbo. Ningbo is located in the Eastern coast of China, near Shanghai, to its South. In between there is the cities of Hangzhou and Suzhou which are also called the ‘heavens on earth’. Ningbo (literally tranquil waves) is one of the greenest and least polluted cities in China. It is a port city with a rich cultural heritage and abundant resources. Ningbo is the birthplace of the ‘Hemudu culture’ dating back 7000 years. Since the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279), the port city of Ningbo has been nationally important for trade. We were really impressed to see the beautiful city of Ningbo, a mix of modernity and traditions. The population of Ningbo is nearly 7 million (2008) and per capita GDP is about 10,000 US Dollars.

Ningbo is a two-hour flight from Beijing and two and half hours by train from Shanghai. On our way back to Beijing we went by train to the famous city of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province. We were overwhelmed by the gorgeous natural beauty of this most beautiful city in China.

(The writer is the Chief Technical Advisor, International Poverty Reduction Centre in China (IPRCC)

BRAC University Moot Team Excels

Star Campus Desk

BRAC University Moot Team comprising Ms. Kazi Tuney Binte Zinnat (Mooter), Muhsina Farhat Chowdhury (Mooter) and Assistant Professor Tureen Afroz (Team Coach) has been acclaimed for 'Distinction Performance' in the recently held “Louis M. Brown International Client Counseling Competition 2010”, at the Hong Kong University, Hong Kong.

“Louis M. Brown International Client Counseling Competition” has been one of the excellent platforms for the law students since 1985, to learn and practice client interviewing and counseling skills. It started with only three teams: Canada, USA and UK and this year, about 22 countries participated in the final competition, namely - Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, China, England and Wales, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Irish Republic, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, and the United States. This year for the fist time Bangladesh has participated in this competition and BRAC University represented Bangladesh in this historic moment.

In the finals, the first three positions were won by the New Zealand, England and Wales and the USA teams. Bangladesh (the BRACU team) scored the 12th position among 22 finalist countries of the world. Also, the Bangladesh team received recognition for 'Distinction Performance' for showing exceptionally high standard in their debut participation in this competition.



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