Kuang Yaming Honors School of Nanjing University dates from 1985 when it was first known as the School for Gifted Youth. During the following twenty seven years, it evolved in four stages: School for Gifted Youth(1985 - 1990), Department forIntensive Instruction(1989 - 1997), School of Intensive Instruction in Sciences and Arts (1998 - 2005) and Kuang Yaming Honors School (2006 - present). This School, a unique department in Nanjing University, is a forerunner in the higher education reform in China and a pilot program of talent development by both Nanjing University and the Ministry of Education of China. It consists of various interdisciplinary projects (also known as Experimental Classes for General Science), forming the National Training Base for Talented and Gifted Students. Within its short yet fruitful history, Kuang Yaming Honors School has cultivated nearly 2,000 prominent and gifted young talents not only in the basic research fields of Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, and related interdisciplinary subjects, but also in practical areas such as Administration Management, Financial Services, and High-Tech Enterprises. Furthermore, its education model, in which students are enrolled into groups according to key disciplines to build up their foundation in basic subjects throughout both their undergraduate and graduate studies, has important influence both in China and even abroad. This innovative education model along with its fruitful results, has received the National Teaching Achievement Prizes, Special Trophy by Jiangsu Province, and over ten individual awards, and has taken a leading role among Chinese universities.
Kuang Yaming Honors School of Intensive Instruction in Sciences used to be the School for Gifted Youth in Nanjing University. In 1985, some forward-looking educators proposed the set-up of the School for Gifted Youth to cultivate promising and talented adolescent. In 1989, motivated by the guiding theory of former State Education Committee concerning protecting and advancing basic sciences, Nanjing University established the Department for Intensive Instruction. In 1993, it turned out to be Experimental Classes for General Science, forming the National Training Base for Talented and Gifted Students. To further popularize this new kind of education mode, School of Intensive Instruction in Sciences and Arts was formed, as an important step taken by Nanjing University during the process of education reform. It represents a significant measure Nanjing University has taken in order to cultivate the new type of talents that meet the requirements of new century in basic science with creativity and innovation. In March, 2006, in order to memorize the 100th birthday of Mr Kuang Yaming, an outstanding and famous Marxism theorist, education and sociologist, to inherit and carry on his advanced education philosophy and to promote the idea of general education, Nanjing University decided to change School of Intensive Instruction in Sciences and Arts into Kuang Yaming Honors School. Since 2007, School of Intensive Instruction in Arts, as the National Training Base for Talented students in arts, is also integrated into Kuang Yaming Honors School for unified management.
Currently, as the test unit of delivering general education in Nanjing University, Kuang Yaming Honors School has provided enriched instructions in both Natural and Social Science. In Natural Science (including Math, Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Biochemistry), the School carries out the National Plan of Training of Outstanding Students in basic subjects. In Social Science (including Economics, Business, Law, and Journalism), Kuang Yaming Honors School focuses on the training of future elites in these fields. The principle is “Enrollment by specialty groups based on key disciplines, distribution by First Level Discipline, and education throughout both undergraduate and graduate study.” The method is “To develop innovation in general education and research in learning, enhance basic training in scientific, promote international cooperation, and improve political, ideological and moral education.” The target is “To cultivate top-notch talents in science and the humanities, with strong research foundation and outstanding innovative abilities.”