“China and India… seek to expand the capacity of their systems of higher education… and aspire simultaneously to create a limited number of world-class universities to take their places among the best,” Professor Richard Levin told The Guardian newspaper.
“This is an audacious agenda, but China, in particular, has the will and resources that make it feasible. It has built the largest higher education sector in the world in merely a decade.”
Levin predicted Chinese institutions would rank in the world’s top 10 universities in 25 years’ time. At the moment, China’s highest-ranking institution is Tsinghua, at 49.
But with the Chinese government spending billions of yuan - at least 1.5 percent of its gross domestic product - on higher education, “in 25 years, only a generation’s time, (top Chinese) universities could rival the Ivy League,” Levin said.
The number of higher education institutions in China has more than doubled in the last decade from 1,022 to 2,263, while the number of Chinese students studying degree courses has risen from one million in 1997 to more than five million, The Guardian said.
Chinese scholars are increasingly leaving their posts in US and British universities to return home, Levin said.
“I don’t see the rise of Asia’s universities as threatening. Competition in education is a positive sum game. Increasing the quality of education around the world translates into better informed and more productive citizens,” he added.