Exploring Shanghai with GSSM's Dr. Michael Newsome

July 21, 2016

Curious about what STEM high schools look like in other countries? The new Director of GSSM’s BlueCross BlueShield Economics and Finance Institute, Dr. Michael Newsome, traveled to China this month and visited Nanyung High School in Shanghai to find out.

As a highly regarded source of information on economic strategy both in the US and internationally, Dr. Newsome also had a chance to present to Shanghai Pengxing Incorporated on “Understanding Long-Term US and Global Economic Trends.” 

July 8, 2016, Shanghai, China

I met with Lu Jun and Hongguan Chen, Principal and Vice Principal of the STEM-based Shanghai Nanyang High School. Nanyung High School (NYHS) will be celebrating its 120th anniversary in October. 

NYHS was the first school based on western models of education to be founded by Chinese. It is currently considered a "Key" (top 10) High School.  

Before 1896, wealthy families hired tutors or sent their children to Christian-denomination-based boarding schools administered by westerners. The school was founded by a Chinese shipping magnate who had lost his company in competition against western companies with better shipping technology. He vowed to have Chinese learn western methods and compete at the global level. The school was private until 1952 when it fell under the Chinese Education Ministry. The Minister of Chinese Education, who was the former president of Beijing University, visited the NYHS in June of 2016. 

The high school has many important and famous alumni, including members of the Royal  Academy of Science and nominees for the Nobel Prize. The current Dean of Beijing Law School is a graduate. He helped draft the Chinese constitution.

The school is STEM based. Its focus is on learning western knowledge for practical use in China. The Confucian plaque at the front of the school says that you should always apply what you learn to real life to help your family, your country and the world. Most students study engineering. Many go to the US for college. 

The school has students from 7 grades, all the way to senior level. The infrastructure is very well developed and new (several building having been finished only within the last two years). There are dormitories for boys and girls. The school has many modern laboratories. The campus includes gardens, basketball courts, tennis courts, and a soccer field. The school also has a rather large museum (the façade looking remarkably like the White House and the rear looking like a Qing Dynasty building). 

The NYHS soccer team is nationally recognized. In fact, there is currently an international high school (17-year-olds and under) soccer tournament at the school.  The teams are boarding at the school. An American school from Wisconsin is competing there. Prince William recently visited the school and played on the soccer pitch.

The school is located in an urban, but relatively quiet, area near the Huangpu River. From the top of one building, you can see the famous skyline of Pudong, with its Pearl Tower and Financial Center, in the distance. The tallest building in the Puxi region of Shanghai is currently being built nearby.  

July 9, 2016, Shanghai China

I presented “Understanding Long-Term US and Global Economic Trends” to executives at Shanghai Pengxing Incorporated, a publicly-traded real estate and agricultural commodity investment company with headquarters in the Hongqiao District of Shanghai. The company typically purchases agricultural and special metals production facilities abroad and finds markets for the products domestically in China. 

The CEO, COO, CFO, and several vice presidents attended. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the corporate strategic planning process. Pengxin is currently involved in mergers and acquisitions in South America (Brazil specifically) and is considering investments in the United States. The presentation lasted about two hours and seemed to be well-received. I answered questions for about one-half hour.

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