The head of the academic affairs office at University B (B0) explained that enrolment in Chinese higher education had begun expanding rapidly from the year 1999, transitioning from elite education to mass higher education. This expansion happened too fast, and there was not sufficient equipment or teachers available. According to Mr. B0, this led to society doubting the quality of instruction. The Top-Quality Courses Project was designed as a way to make universities and individual professors care more about the quality of instruction.
Professor B3 puts the project into a historical perspective, and shows how it was the natural consequence of a trajectory that had begun with the MoE first focusing on evaluating the best national universities, and increasing their funding. The second step had been to identify national key disciplines, so that a given university would have educational technology as its key discipline, another economics. These were also peer-reviewed, and implied increased funding, and a responsibility to lead the development of that particular field. However, a discipline is still very broad, so finally the MoE decided to evaluate individual courses.