Petroleum education in China is, like petroleum production itself, a development of relatively recent years. In 1949, when the annual crude oil output was 120,000 tons and workers in petroleum numbered 8,000, no petroleum schools or colleges existed. In 1987, when the production reached 134 million tons with a work force of 1.2 million, there were seven petroleum institutions of higher learning. This paper will outline the petroleum education system as it exists today and present some observations on the issues that it faces.

The first formal petroleum education program was a petroleum engineering department in Tsing Hua University. In 1953, this department became the nucleus of the The Peking Petroleum Institute, the loyalties to which are still felt today in the entire petroleum education system of China. The Peking Petroleum Institute evolved, in 1969, into the East China Petroleum Institute.

There are now seven higher educational institutions devoted to petroleum education in China. Of these, Fushun Petroleum Institute is under the administration of the China Petrochemical Corporation and Xinjiang Petroleum Institute is under the administration of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The other five institutes are under the administration of the Ministry of Petroleum Industry (M0PI). These are East China Petroleum Institute, which is the oldest, largest and most comprehensive, Daqing Petroleum Institute, Jianhang Petroleum Institute, Southwest Petroleum Institute, and Xian Petroleum Institute, which is the newest and smallest. M0PI has given top priority to assessing the quality and future of its petroleum education. In addition to its own continuing internal analysis, the M0PI, in 1986, invited a team of petroleum educators from Texas A&M University to review the petroleum education program and to make recommendations for its future. This paper is based on some of the observations resulting from that review.

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