Project 5-100 at the international China Education ExpoOctober 29, 2014
The universities of the Project on competitiveness enhancement of the leading Russian universities among the leading global research and education centers presented their educational opportunities at the annual expo in Beijing on 25-26 October this year.
The largest international event in the sphere of education in China - China Education Expo (CEE-2014) – organized by China Education Association for International Exchange gathered more than 500 universities from 42 countries including the USA, UK, Canada, France, Australia, Israel, Japan and Germany. CEE-2014 was visited by more than 30 000 people. Two-thirds of the visitors to the Expo are students of Chinese colleges who are planning to continue their studies abroad. According to Lily Tsou (Managers of the organizational committee), this year’s novelty is the opportunity to record and upload a presentation of a universities to the expo’s website before the start of the event.
The booth of the Project 5-100 was part of the display of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. As expected, it attracted a lot of interest from visitors to the expo and Chinese mass media.
In addition to participating in the expo itself, Project 5-100 took part in the business program of the Chinese Annual Conference for International Education which ran parallel to the expo. On 26 October a seminar dedicated to Russo-Chinese cooperation in the sphere of international higher education was organized. Twelve Chinese universities, fifteen universities from Project 5-100 as well as representatives of the Ministries of education from both countries took part in the seminar.
The participants in the seminar were greeted by Yu Jihai (Deputy Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Education of China). In his welcome address he talked about the current condition of the Chinese system of education including the recent reforms of the Academy of Sciences and the grant system and about the progress of national projects for competitiveness enhancement which are similar to the Project 5-100. Appearance of a hundred of leading Chinese universities and a series of cutting-edge academic disciplines in these institutions in the 21st century is the main goal of the Chinese government and Projects 211 and 985. “The universities participating in these initiatives have already made a substantial contribution to the development of the PRC’s economy and society”, said Yu Jihai.
The meeting continued with an address of Nikolai Toivonen (Director of the International Department of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation). He called the seminar an extremely important event for strengthening the friendship between the fraternal peoples of Russia and China. In his address Toivonen mentioned ongoing Russo-Chinese partnership projects and talked about the progress of the reforms in the system of higher education in Russia and the Russian Academy of Sciences. “All leading international universities are building their economies on knowledge. Top-notch science is now the main university driver providing a solid foundation for the development of innovation”, Toivonen said. He then talked in detail about the project in the sphere of international partnership and about the agreement between the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Beijing Polytechnic and the mayor’s office of Shenzhen (Guangdong) to establish a new university which will supply the Russo-Chinese partnership with qualified staff.
He also listed the main aspects on which the Russo-Chinese cooperation will focus in general: science and innovation, commercialization and transfer of technologies, inter-university collaboration within the framework of BRICS. “I have one apple, and my partner has one apple. We make an exchange – and each one of us has one apple. I have one idea and my partner has one idea. We make and exchange, and suddenly he has 2 ideas and I have 2 ideas. This is the same type of synergy that we will be able to attain together with our Chinese partners”, said Toivonen at the end of his speech.
Victor Konnov (Head of the Representative Office of Rossotrudnichestvo in China, Advisor to the Russian Embassy in China) was the next speaker. He told his listeners about the collaboration agreement between Chinese and Russian universities. The collaboration program, where more than 50 Russian universities take part, has been launched as part of a promotion program of the Russian higher education. In his speech Victor Konnov identified concrete steps to be taken in this direction. Thus, under the quotas of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation last year almost 700 Chinese students had the opportunity to study in Russia for free. Thanks to the Olympiad “Time to Study in Russia”, Chinese high school students were given an opportunity to take special exams and, if successful, enroll in Russian universities. Many Russian universities now have agreements with Chinese secondary schools. As an example of such practice Victor Konnov used the Ural Federal University, which has agreements with five Chinese schools including a school located in a remote autonomous region called Inner Mongolia. “It is comfortable and safe in Russia. It is the best time to study there”, Konnov concluded.
In his address, Sheng Jianxue (General Secretary of CEAIE) said that the efforts of the two countries are the same – they aim at having the competitive status of their universities in the global strengthened and enhanced market by 2020. He emphasized the importance of such seminars for strengthening Russo-Chinese partnerships, its effectiveness as a forum for experience sharing and reminded the audience of how effective joint training programs are. Sheng Jianxue named four potential opportunities for further development: active participation in the assessment of international educational programs (such centers for assessment of the quality of international education have already been set up); organization of networking cooperation between the members of the Association which is comprised of 500 universities; organization of an annual education conference in China where a platform for international education in Asia can be created within the framework of the Russo-Chinese seminar; active support of the local and federal authorities in the sphere of development of international ties in education. The General Secretary reminded the audience that the Association organizes winter and summer camps, art festivals and conferences for Chinese and Russian school children. “Russians have a saying: great ship – great voyage. Its Chinese equivalent: “if there’s a strong wind, the ship will sail far. I am sure that the Russo-Chinese cooperation will go far”, Sheng Jianxue concluded.
The meeting continued with a presentation made by Georgy Rudnitsky (Director of the Project Office 5-100). He talked about the Project and its progress, achievements and prospects. Rudnitsky also talked about the possible cooperation formats for Chinese and Russian higher education institutions.
After this the participants in the seminar made short presentations about their universities’ study opportunities for international students and staff. Some Russian universities like the Kazan Federal University and the Samara State Aerospace University encouraged the Chinese students currently enrolled in Russian universities to share their experience of studying in Russia. The lively and enthusiastic “testimonials” that followed were undoubtedly the best part of the seminar. A discussion panel between representatives of Russian and Chinese universities concluded the seminar.
Russo-Chinese educational projects have a lot of potential - this was emphasized many times during the seminar. According to statistics, the number of Chinese people studying abroad is growing all the time and will soon reach a total of 500 000 people. According to the organizers of the expo, young Chinese people who want to continue their studies in a foreign university are interested in establishing direct communication with providers of educational services. An opportunity to speak directly to a representative of a particular university helps them to weigh the pros and cons and to make an informed decision about a specific university. China Education Expo is an excellent venue for such communication. Considering the size and volume of the Chinese market of education, the fact that Project 5-100 was present at the expo helps it to attract the attention of potential students and to promote the leading Russian universities in a vast education market.