As part of an official visit to China, Jo Johnson, the UK’s Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, witnessed the signing of new education collaboration agreements between the UK and China, before addressing Chinese students at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) on Thursday 22 September.
During a tour of the university, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the minister witnessed the signing of six new agreements to deepen collaboration in research, innovation and higher education between the UK and China.
The agreements will see UK education institutions working closely with their counterparts in China to establish new and expand existing education initiatives (see appendix). The British Council, Universities UK International, and the Excellence League of China announced their joint intention to establish a consortium of UK and Chinese institutions focusing on science and technology. It will support staff and postgraduate student mobility between the UK and China, encourage joint research projects, and develop university-industry links, which will support both countries’ industrial ambitions.
The UK is already China’s leading partner in transnational education, with nearly 270 joint programmes enabling more than 57,000 students to study towards UK qualifications in China each year. The new agreements demonstrate and further strengthen the UK’s leading position and reputation in China’s education market.
In a speech to students at XJTLU, Jo Johnson highlighted the UK’s commitment to international engagement with China: “We want to work with China to address the challenges in education, to develop globally aware citizens equipped with the skills and cultural understanding that is essential in today’s increasingly international economy.”
Following his speech, the Minister met with a number of British students studying and undertaking internships in China as part of the British Council’s Generation UK – China programme, which supports British students in gaining international skills and experience in China. An agreement between the British Council, XJTLU, and financial services provider Gold Finance, signed during the minister’s visit, will create further opportunities for British students to gain experience in China through a new scholarship programme for UK students to study film and TV arts in China.