On October 16, 1951, East China Normal University (ECNU) was established out of the Great China University and Kwang Hua University’s arts and science faculties, while incorporating some other departments from Fudan University and Tongji University, etc. In November of that year, the Ministry of Education appointed Meng Xiancheng, the then Minister of Education of East China, as the university president, and Sun Taolin and Liao Shicheng, as vice-presidents.
The intellectual wealth from Great China University, Kwang Hua and other universities and colleges laid a solid foundation for ECNU, while the transformation of departments in the early 1950s infused new effectiveness into ECNU. In March 1959, ECNU was officially recognized as one of the 16 key universities in China, and this status was reaffirmed in 1978.
Teacher training is one of the great features of ECNU, China’s leading normal university. ECNU began training junior middle school teachers already in 1952, and has taken on the role as a teacher-training university ever since its early days. Over the past decades, ECNU has fostered a large number of excellent teachers and educators for the country’s basic education. The Ministry of Education's Training Center for Secondary School Principals, located at ECNU, is a unique base for the training of secondary school principals in Mainland China and for advanced studies for those in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
Being a university with an international perspective, ECNU attaches great importance to the internationalization of its development and has established strategic cooperative partnerships with many world-renowned universities from all over the world. In 2008, it set up the Study and Training Base for International Chinese Teachers under Hanban, the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. In 2011, the ground breaking of Shanghai New York University, a joint university established by ECNU and New York University in Shanghai, showed a new phase of ECNU’s internationalization plans.
Since the early 1980s, ECNU has recognized the importance of combining teacher training and academic research in its development, and has made great efforts in this field. At present, the university not only takes the lead when it comes to the country’s education of teachers, but also shows great influence in the country’s advancement of economics, sciences and social sciences through its academic achievements.
Through decades of teaching and research practice, the university’s motto of “Seek Truth, Foster Originality, and Honor the Teaching Profession” has inspired generations of ECNU teachers and students to strive hard for the development of China’s basic education and the prosperity of the country. Now, ECNU is steadily and enthusiastically working towards its goal of establishing itself as an internationally renowned high-level research university, and will therefore play a more prominent role in China’s rise in the 21st century.