East China Normal University was founded in October 1951 on the site of Great China University with most of its faculties from Great China University joined by some faculties from a number of other universities such as Fudan University and Tongji University. In 1972, ECNU was renamed Shanghai Normal University, when other four institutes including Shanghai Teachers Institute, Shanghai Education Institute, Shanghai Physical Education Institute, and Shanghai in-Service Teachers Institute were merged with it. In July 1980, it regained its original name of ECNU as the other four institutes separated again and resumed their original status one after another in 1978.
Over fifty years of development has shaped ECNU into one of the key institutions of higher learning under the direct auspices of the Ministry of Education, influential both at home and abroad. The University has 18 full-time schools, namely School of Humanities, School of Educational Science, School of Educational Administration, School of Preschool Education and Special Education, School of Foreign Languages, School of Business , School of Law and Politics, School of Life Science, School of Physical Education and Health Care, School of Science and Engineering, School of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, School of Information Science and Technology, School of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language,School of software engineering and the Vocational College.
The University has always attached great importance to the integration of the special characteristics of a normal university and academic excellence with equal emphasis on teaching and scientific research, and has, thus, developed into a university not only strong in educational science but also strong in the fields of social science, humanities, natural sciences, science and technology and management science. While mainly training students to be teachers in high schools, colleges and universities, the University also nurtures scientific researchers and other academic and administrative professionals. Since its founding, the University has already educated over 100,000 students who have been well received by their employers. Meanwhile, in its effort to give full display to its academic superiority, the University has undertaken a great number of key scientific research projects, consultant projects and training projects from the central government and the local authorities, as well as those from business companies and other institutions. Besides, the University has been actively involved in providing service for the elementary and secondary education, economic construction and social progress of both the city of Shanghai and other parts of China, which has eventuated in remarkable scientific achievements with very good social effect and economic results. The Training Center of High School Principals at ECNU is the only national base for training provincial key high school principals and other senior administrators of educational administration. In addition, the University has established relations with nearly 100 foreign institutions of higher learning for academic exchanges.