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Education Forum convenes with Leading Group for UK Education in China

BritCham / CBBC
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On 12 March, our Education Forum held a meeting of the Leading Group for UK Education in China – composed of representatives of CBBC, the British Council, UKTI and the BritCham/CBBC Education Forum – and key stakeholders in the education sector.

The event, held at the British Council's offices in Beijing, attracted Chinese and British participants from a variety of schools and higher-education institutions. Carma Elliot, Country Director China at the British Council, explained that the forum was a chance "to bring colleagues together and to share news and information".

China International Education Market Update

Jazreel Goh, Director of Education Marketing at the British Council, gave a presentation of current trends in UK-China education.

China's market has grown 4 per cent and China now has the second-largest number of Top 500 universities (although it has none in the Top 150). Its research output has also moved up to second place worldwide. However, the quality of this output ranks low, commensurate with that of a developing country.

The number of gaokao candidates has fallen, and higher-education enrolment is expected to peak in 2015. Outbound students are increasing in number, but falling as a percentage of total Chinese students (now 4 per cent from 20 recently).

Ms Goh explained, however, that Chinese parents always want the best, and that UK institutions which are able to offer the best will still find success.

Outline of UKTI's role in education sector

David Ratcliffe, Head of Creative Industries, Education & Sports at UKTI Beijing, explained how UKTI fits into the education sector in China.

UKTI has identified the Chinese education sector as a high-value opportunity (HVO), defined as one worth over £100m.

UKTI concentrates on a number of strands, including international schools, vocational training (especially in financial services, oil & gas, teacher training and English), and "ed-tech" (including MOOCs, online platforms, distance learning etc).

Currently the Education team is being restructured across China, and more will be known in the coming months.

CBBC Education Programme 2014

Simon Stewart, China Business Advisor and CBBC Education Programme Lead, told attendees about CBBC's plans for 2014.

The CBBC Education Programme 2014 will consist of three targeted market visits, one to the UK and two to China, designed for department heads, educators and academics at further education colleges and universities. 

Further details are available from simon.stewart@cbbc.org.cn.

BritCham/CBBC Education Forum

Qu Min of London Metropolitan University, the Co-Chair of the Education Forum, spoke about the forum in Beijing and the two events it has planned for the first half of 2014: a visa update for students going to the UK, and a forum on student insurance in the UK.

She explained that the views of members and stakeholders are always welcome, as they help to steer the programme of forums to the most useful and up-to-date topics in the sector. Attendees at the presentation put a number of ideas to Ms Qu and discussed with her the issues affecting their institution.

The role of the British Council

Finally, Jazreel Goh gave an overview of the British Council's work in the education sector in China.

It has three main focal points: 1) government-to-government matters; 2) British Council programmes, e.g. policy discussions, joint research, institutional partnerships and inward/outward mobility; and 3) education services for institutional clients, e.g. market insight, research and consultancy, and events.

Q&A

The busy session closed with a Q&A session at which the members of the Leading Group for UK Education fielded queries from attendees on everything from general issues to the specific offerings of CBBC, UKTI, the British Council and the BritCham/CBBC Education Forum.

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