Chinese Universities' Name Changes Causing Confusion

May 19, 2006 Updated: May 19, 2006

In the past ten years, in order to show the promotion of ranks as well as attract more students, nearly a hundred universities in Mainland China have changed their names. However, the changed names of these universities are sometimes very different from their original names.

Many parents and students have expressed their dissatisfaction because they are unable to figure out the specialties of the universities, which have changed their names. The following are some examples: “China Textile University” changing to “Donghua University”, the “First Military Medical University” changing to “Southern Medical University” and “Haidian District Private College” changing to “Beijing City University.”

Since many schools have changed their names, parents who help their children to apply for universities recommend checking the original names to avoid confusion by the new names.

According to the Beijing Morning Post , a book titled “A Complete Guide of the Name Change of Universities in China” is recently becoming extremely popular on the internet during the current exam season. The number of visitors to the site is surprisingly high.

Some scholars believe that it would be less meaningful if the university changes the name only as a strategy for the university's development. But if a university has changed the direction of the institution, including the policies of running the school, adding new majors and eliminating old majors, it would be more reasonable to change the name.

Quite a few parents have expressed their opinions on the internet about this. They believe that this phenomenon of changing names among universities reveals a short vision and an unhealthy state of mind of seeking quick success and instant benefits. It could potentially have a negative impact on the development of higher education in Mainland China.