LONDON — The year 2017 witnessed a year of thriving exchanges and cooperation in education between China and Britain, said Chinese Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming.
On a grand gala attended by nearly two thousand people, including Chinese students, scholars, and heads from British universities, to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year on the night of Feb 7, Liu compared China-UK educational exchange and cooperation to a symphony.
He said firstly, the “main theme” of the symphony is loud and clear: such cooperation enjoys full government backing from both countries.
In the year 2017, the fifth China-UK High Level People-to-People Dialogue was a huge success, and the two countries also held the tenth China-UK Education Summit, he said.
Secondly, with flourishing exchanges on all fronts, this “symphony” offers delightful “chords”, the ambassador noted. For example, the Oxford Institute of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences was established in the University of Oxford in 2017. This is the first time in its 800 years history that Oxford has a foreign university to set up a research unit on its campus.
And the Peking University HSBC Business School opened a new campus in Britain. This is a pioneering effort by a Chinese university to run a school in a developed country.
The cooperation on scientific research between universities of the two countries also has been greatly advanced by the establishment of joint research centers. These include Oxford-Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research, the center for education on scientific innovation set up by Cambridge and Nanjing, and the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey.
For the first time, the HarperCollins Publishers translated and published Chinese maths textbooks for use in primary and secondary schools in the UK. Up till now, over 500 maths teachers from the two countries have been on exchange visits through the China-UK maths teacher exchange program, said the ambassador.
Thirdly, the “symphony” of educational exchange and cooperation presents a “rich harmony” of mutual learning of language and culture, Liu stressed.
Currently, Britain has the largest Chinese student community in Europe, with over 170,000 Chinese students and scholars studying in Britain, while the number of British students in China is also increasing to nearly 9,000.
Moreover, over 600 British schools are offering Chinese language courses, hiring nearly 500 teachers and volunteer teaching assistants from China every year.
During British Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to China last week, she visited the time-honored Wuhan University and launched the 2018 “English is GREAT” campaign. The education agreements signed during the visit exceed 550 million pound in value and they are expected to create 800 jobs in Britain, according to the ambassador.