On 12 and 13 October 2016, the first Sino-European Forum on Education Policy Think Tanks took place in Beijing, China. It was organised in partnership with EUA by the Chinese Education Ministry’s National Center for Education Development Research (NCEDR).
On the occasion, NCEDR Director-General Li Zhang and EUA Secretary General Lesley Wilson signed a Memorandum of Understanding that confirms their partnership, including the regular organisation of the Think Tanks Forum, alternating its location between China and Europe. Present at the signing were Chinese Vice-Minister of Education, Ping Hao, and Acting Deputy Director for Higher Education of the EU’s Directorate General for Education and Culture, Adam Tyson.
In his speech, Vice-Minister Hao discussed the biggest challenges for China’s higher education sector, including the size of its student population, equal access and quality. In order to tackle these issues, he highlighted the experiences and achievements of the European higher education sector in particular through the Bologna Process.
“The Chinese government has given a lot of attention to the Bologna Process and other European development processes,” said Hao. “Whenever there is a new paper from Europe, there is a lot of discussion in China. We continue to learn from you, and also bring in our own developments.”
Hao explicitly mentioned EUA as being in the best position to share its knowledge with China. Tyson, meanwhile, responded with a preview of the revised Modernisation Agenda, to be launched in 2017, which, in addition to skills and graduate tracking, will also focus on the contribution of universities to their local and regional environments, and on the nexus between research and teaching. He also mentioned a new pilot programme that engages Chinese universities with the EU Multirank project.
Zhang and Wilson gave keynote speeches providing an overview of the higher education developments in China and Europe. The event focused on world class universities, internationalisation, innovation and entrepreneurship education, and the quality of education. Academics from Chinese universities, as well as from EUA member universities attended the event.
The Sino-European Forum on Education Policy Think Tanks took place in connection and back-to-back with two ministerial meetings: the first China-EU Ministerial Conference and the fourth China-Central Eastern European Countries (CCEC) Conference, which EUA joined as an observer.
Chinese authorities reconfirmed their interest in further enhancing educational exchanges and cooperation with Europe at all levels, as education is perceived as a crucial driver for social and economic change. In recent years, for example, sturdy investment in education has contributed to raising 600.000 Chinese out of poverty.
The NCEDR hosted the Forum on the occasion of its 30-year anniversary. EUA is pleased to continue its cooperation with the NCEDR and to contribute further to Europe-China exchanges.
Photo: NCEDR Director-General Li Zhang and EUA Secretary General Lesley Wilson sign the MoU.
From left to right: Dr. Yinfu Yang, Deputy Director General, NCEDR; Dr. Min Han, Deputy Director General, NCEDR; Sorin Costreie, Secretary of State, Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research, Romania; Ping Hao, Vice Minister, Ministry of Education, China; Prof. Zhenyuan Qu, President, Chinese Society for Higher Education, China; Adam Tyson, acting Director for EU education policy at the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission; Tao Xu, Director General, Department of International Coorperation and Exchange, Ministry of Education, China.