Sichuan University (SCU) is set to start China's first disaster mitigation and management school in collaboration with Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU), reported the Sichuan News Network and Chengdu Wanbao.
Plans for the Training Institute on Disaster Management and Reconstruction (IDMR) were announced yesterday at SCU's "Japan 3.11 Earthquake Symposium" following years of preparation, in light of the slew of natural disasters from 2008's Wenchuan earthquake, last year's Haiti crisis and Indonesia volcanic eruption, to the recent Japan 9.0 magnitude earthquake.
Having recruited 19 PhD students nationwide, the institute will commence classes this September and it hopes to nurture over 5,000 professionals in the next three years, said the Associate Dean for Administration, Wang Jianmin.
"These are Chinese students, but we welcome students from all over the world," he added.
The construction of the campus building, laboratory and practicum sites will be funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, as part of its commitment to reconstruction efforts in Sichuan.
Admissions and Curriculum
The school aims to train about 60 PhD, 200 Master's and 5,000 Bachelor's students. Admission requirements for the latter has yet to be finalized, but is likely to follow the national standard of centralized entrance examination.
PhD entrants are expected to meet both SCU and HKPU's admission criteria as they will spend two years in each university with two supervising tutors and be awarded with dual certification ultimately.
There will be seven specializations, such as Rehabilitation Medicine and Physiotherapy, Nursing, Optometry, Science and Engineering Management, Psychiatry and Mental Health, Geotechnical Engineering, and Human Settlements.
Current hot topics such as tsunamis and nuclear crisis are likely to be included in the curriculum in future, Wang said.
Management and Faculty
The management have assumed their positions since January 2011 with helmsman of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake Rehabilitation and Research Centre, Yan Shijing, appointed as Dean. Long Enshen, the Associate Dean, headed SCU's Institute for Building Energy Efficiency and Environmental Research previously.
The institute is recruiting worldwide for renowned experts such as earthquake specialists from the University of California and Japan. SCU's principal Xie Heping is likely to supervise PhD projects related to geotechnical engineering.
Comments about the institute were focused on what the Chinese can learn from Japan's recent crisis response, with Xie lauding the evacuation drill practice and other forms of disaster education.
Associate Dean Long and HKPU's Professor Shen Wenwei echoed his sentiments, highlighting the Japanese strengths in the aspects of disaster-resistant construction and urban planning technologies, and dedicated focus on "vulnerable groups" post-disaster.
The positive attitude exuded by the Japanese in this educational cartoon for children to learn about the unfolding nuclear crisis is something anyone of us can learn in the face of disasters.