Educate to Innovate

English translation of Jun Ge’s post originally published on Intel China’s blog

In this sultry July, Intel held a host of education activities, aiming at exploring ways for education transformation under the theme “Educate to Innovate.” I attended the “Innovation Education Forum”, “Intel Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge Summer Camp”, and “2010 Intel Cup Undergraduate Electronic Design Contest – Embedded System Design”. I had the opportunity to communicate with officials from the Ministry of Education, and domestic and overseas education experts and scholars including Wei Yu, member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Prof. Yuan Si, vice president of Tsinghua University, Elizabeth Marincola, chairman of the Society for Science & the Public (SSP), Christina Maslach, vice president of University of California, Berkeley, and Wang Yue, member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering. We have one purpose — through extensive exchanges and cooperation, to discover and sum up experience and models that truly contribute to systematic education transformation and development of innovative talents. As Xunzi, a Chinese Confucian philosopher, put it, “Although the road may be near, you cannot reach it if you do not go there; although a matter may be trifle, it cannot be accomplished if you don’t do it.” We hope our efforts will contribute to China’s education innovation.

Anyone who knows Intel culture would understand how much importance we attach to education and how much we have invested in education. Based on our efforts and expertise over the past decades, Intel summarizes five topics for global education transformation: 1. How to provide stronger policy support to promote education reform; 2. How to improve curriculum standards to meet the demand for talents in the 21st century; 3. How to provide a broader and more reliable platform for teachers’ professional development; 4. How to propel education reform and development with information technology, to enable high-tech companies like Intel to better align our specialties to needs in the educational circles; 5. How to evaluate education in a more objective and accurate manner, to achieve continuous optimization and improvement.

We were pleased to learn that Intel’s viewpoint on education transformation was widely agreed by officials and education experts, which undoubtedly motivates us to move ahead. Moreover, I am deeply thrilled by the inspiration and blazing talents of innovative young Chinese students. Not to mention Chinese students’ performance at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), the first prize at 2010 Intel Cup Undergraduate Electronic Design Contest – Embedded System Design, concluded at Shanghai Jiaotong University in late July, was amazing. Based on Atom processor, students from Xidian University designed brand-new shadow-play system (see the photo), which allows traditional Chinese art to beam with new charm in the 21st century.

As a global leader in computing innovation, Intel’s commitment in education is consistent and practical. Not only does this underscore the great importance attached by Intel to its social responsibility, it also showcases Intel’s unique corporate culture as well. In the future, in line with “Educate to Innovate” concept, Intel will strengthen cooperation in the following three aspects:

Firstly, build an end-to-end system for innovative talent development. To foster innovative talents is not simply the task for higher education. It should be extended to secondary school education and even primary school education as well to form an integral and complete chain for innovative talent development. It is also necessary to incorporate successful practices accumulated by the industries in the process of innovation and talent cultivation. With the goal of “Educate to Innovate”, Intel has end-to-end programs on education, ranging from elementary education to higher education, from the classroom to extracurricular activities, from vocational education to community training, covering the whole process of talent development. The Tech entrepreneurship summer camp and embedded design contest are oriented for college students. Intel ISEF is designed to discover future creative talents from middle school students. “Innovation Education Forum” held jointly by Intel and Tsinghua University, is trying to bridge secondary and primary education with higher education.

Secondly, push ahead with education efforts on all fronts. Intel is dedicated to improving both teaching and learning. While focusing on students, Intel also makes great efforts to train teachers. With Intel Teach program, which was launched in China 10 years ago, 1.58 million teachers have taken trained around the country. This year, along with tech entrepreneurship summer camp, we held for the first time a workshop on entrepreneurship education for college teachers, introducing the state-of-the-art education philosophy to teachers, and let teachers to influence students.

Thirdly, establish a multi-channel open cooperation platform. To advance the development of innovative talents through education transformation, it calls for concerted efforts made by the government, the educational circles, NGOs and the industries. It is necessary to establish a platform for fostering innovative talents through multilateral cooperation. Only Intel’s support of education is not enough, we want to establish a social platform for education that can mobilize contributions from all walks of life. Through the “Innovation Education Forum” jointly hosted with Tsinghua University, we hope to find a mechanism in China for innovative talent development and push forward the education transformation. The embedded design contest also provides a platform for cooperation among enterprises, universities and research institutes. It not only can help nurture innovative talents in the field of embedded systems, but also boost the development of embedded industries in China and globally.

Education leads to innovation, and innovative talents are the foundation of an innovation economy. Fostering innovative talents to build an innovation economy is the call of the times, and also the shared vision and goal of the educational circles and the industries. As one of the leading innovators, Intel should play a role in the education transformation. Intel also believes that innovative thinking requires favorable environment and resources. Based on these understandings, Intel has invested more than $1 billion worldwide for innovation education and cultivation of innovative talents in more than 60 countries. In China, Intel has made great efforts to support education over the past decade, receiving the Award for Outstanding Contribution granted by the Ministry of Education for 7 consecutive years. As always, we will be dedicated to promoting the cooperation among the industries, education circles, government departments and NGOs, to create a favorable environment for innovation education that will nurture innovative talents with skills needed in the 21st century.

Now, I have to pack and get ready to take a trip to Lanzhou and south Gansu, where I will take part in exchange activities of Intel Teach program in remote and minority regions. After that, I will head for Guangzhou and Chengdu to attend the China Adolescent Science & Technology Innovation Contest, which we have been sponsoring for years, and our annual Intel China Academic Forum.