BEIJING - Institutions of higher education should place quality at the top of their agenda and enhance innovation and research, President Hu Jintao said as Tsinghua University marked its centennial on Sunday.
Hu extended congratulations and greetings to Tsinghua's students, faculty and alumni in his speech during the celebration marking 100 years of higher learning.
Hu praised the university's cultural traditions, history and contribution to the nation and noted its efforts to continuously improve the quality of its education.
He also called on students to be ambitious and diligent and strive to build a brilliant future for the nation. He said the country's building of socialist modernization is providing youth with great opportunities to explore and display their talent.
"The overall quality of the entire country's higher education should also be promoted, as education is a fundamental element for the sound and rapid development of China's economy and society," Hu said.
Efforts should also be made to foster the all-round development of students and universities should enhance their innovative and research capability, he said.
"I hope that young students in China strive to develop both their academic and moral excellence, their innovative minds and hands-on experiences, and to combine their all-round development with their individual specialties," Hu said.
He also urged educators to follow professional ethics, and encouraged students to maintain their individuality by thinking independently.
Addressing concerns over the education budget, which some claim is insufficient, Hu said: "The government should increase investment in education, and encourage more non-government sectors to become involved in the development of education."
Hu delivered the speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Peking University President Zhou Qifeng and Yale University President Richard C. Levin presented congratulations as representatives from domestic and foreign universities.
A delegation from the Tsing Hua University in Taiwan's Hsinchu city also attended the celebration in Beijing.
Originally founded in 1911 as a training school for students aiming to study abroad, Tsinghua University is one of the country's prime institutions of higher learning. It has fostered many outstanding scholars, successful entrepreneurs and distinguished statesmen.
It has more than 170,000 alumni, who have made a significant contribution to the development of the country, across a number of fields.
President Hu was a student at the Department of Hydraulic Engineering at Tsinghua University in 1959 and was a postgraduate and political instructor at the department from 1964 to 1965. He also participated in research and development work at the department before he went to work at Liujia Gorge Engineering Bureau in Gansu province in 1968.
Tsinghua's alumni also include Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Vice-President Xi Jinping, and former premier Zhu Rongji.
Many renowned scientists are also Tsinghua alumni. One-fourth of the members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences graduated from the university as did one-fifth of the members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.