JINAN, April 13 (Xinhua) -- The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) piloted a program in Shandong Province by sending cadres to occupy senior positions in private universities to overhaul weak party building and ideological work.
Unlike public universities, private schools generally do not have Party chiefs at the core of management, or any strong Party organizations.
In the first part of the program, five cadres were assigned to head Party committees of Qilu Institute of Technology, Qingdao University of Technology and three other schools, according to the higher education commission under the CPC Shandong provincial committee.
The cadres, all former Party chiefs or deputy chiefs in public universities, are to serve four years in their new posts.
A second batch will be sent later this year, and all 40 private universities in the province will have Party chiefs by 2018.
The authorities said the priority of these cadres was to improve party building and ideological and political work in private higher learning institutions.
About 368,000 students study in Shandong's private universities.
Huang Qi, deputy director of the higher education commission of CPC Shandong provincial committee, said the measure aimed to introduce the successful experience of public universities in party building and ideological and political work to private ones.
He said unignorable problems existed in private universities' ideological education: there were not enough Party cells; supervision of the Party was sometimes loose; and ideological education remained weak.
China's central leadership heightened the importance of college student political education in a high-profile meeting last year.
The leadership pointed out that higher education must be guided by Marxism, and the Party's policies in education must be fully carried out. Students should be educated to be aware of the development trends of China and the world at large and should develop firm beliefs and confidence in communist ideals and socialism with Chinese characteristics.