The world is changing at an ever-increasing pace, where information technology (IT) is
playing an increasingly critical role from infrastructure to applications to security. IT covers
a wide range of industries such as hardware, software, electronics, semiconductors, internet, telecom equipment, e-commerce, and unlimited computing services. Therefore, IT
education in universities must keep pace with the times and reflect the characteristics of
the current digital age. Information technology education instills creative problem solving capabilities in IT students, preparing them to recognize and exploit opportunities for
technical innovations that can lead to a broad range of career paths such as in high tech
companies, government agencies, and healthcare industries. Hence, I T programs have gone
beyond computer science and technology (CST) and software engineering (SE) with a “big
tent” atmosphere that blends numerous educational opportunities and prepares students
for various roles.
This article systematically introduces recent developments of IT undergraduate education in China. Firstly, it provides an overview of the current state of education system and
IT industry in China. Secondly, it describes a general picture of IT programs at national
key universities such as Peking University and Tsinghua University. And thirdly, it introduces the latest trends in IT education beyond traditional boundaries, including core
courses, curricula, and knowledge systems.
CONTEXT AND OVERVIEW
There are three important factors that mold the destiny of education in China. There
National College Entrance Examination
are the national entrance examination, the undergraduate program related to information
technology, and the gap that exists between current education and the prospects of employ-
ment. We now address these three issues.
China has limited education resources for its large population, reaching over 1.354 billion people by the end of 2012 [ 17] and approximately 1.361 billion people by the end
of 2013. Therefore, the notoriously tough National College Entrance Examination, or
Gaokao for short, becomes a milestone for young Chinese students. Since its establishment in 1952, except for an interruption by the Cultural Revolution, the two-day exam
has placed colossal pressure on the test-taking students. The Gaokao is a departure
from America's SAT and ACT exams. Whereas American universities consider test
scores as merely a portion of admissions decisions, among extra-curricular, leadership,
service and more, the score of Gaokao is almost the exclusive factor in Chinese college
admission [ 19].
• Ming Zhang • Long Zhang •
To prepare students with the skillsets required by
industry, China has been adjusting
its IT education programs at the
bachelor-degree level. IT majors
(i.e., first-level disciplines) are
no longer limited to computer
science and technology as well
as software engineering. In this
article, the authors introduce the
developments for eight IT programs
with different emphases that the
Ministry of Education recently
updated or newly established. For
each program, we elaborate on
their current status as well as their
educational objective and curricula.
The IT Undergraduate education
in China is becoming a big tent.