Higher Education in China and Hong Kong:
Recent developments and relations with Europe

Brussels, 7 December 2012


Since spring 2012, following the first round of the EU-China High Level People-to-People Dialogue (HPPD), people-to-people exchange has become one of the ‘three pillars’ of the EU-China institutional architecture, in addition to political and trade relations. Cooperation between the EU and China in higher education, specifically academic mobility, is expected to grow in both quantitative and qualitative terms, and in both directions within this policy framework.

Traditionally a major source country of mobile students, China aspires to attract 500 000 overseas students by 2020. The number of government scholarships to be offered to foreign students will be doubled from 25 000 in 2011 to 50 000 in 2015. One fifth of them has been allocated to European students. Scholarship is but one of the many instruments employed by the Chinese government to attract foreign students, as well as graduates of Chinese origin, to study and work in China. The Study in China (2010-2020) campaign and other active recruitment activities involving organisations such as the China Scholarship Council (CSC) and the China Education Association of International Exchange (CEAIE) together have created a dynamic environment for the promotion of international mobility between China and the rest of the world.

By now, we have seen clearly demonstrated political will, policy framework and support instruments for bilateral exchange between the EU and China. The passion for Chinese students and scholars to reach out remains strong. The interest of Europeans in Chinese higher education has also grown over the years with China assuming a greater role in world politics and economy. The conditions are right. But the question of how remains big in the way of cooperation between China and Europe.

How well informed are policymakers and institutional leaders, from both the Chinese and European sides, about the diversity, strengths and weaknesses of their counterparts? How well aware are they of the systemic changes in European and Chinese higher education systems that have given rise to both opportunities and challenges for cooperation? How exactly can a successful and sustainable partnership be created between European and Chinese institutions, bearing in mind the very different political, cultural and socio-economic realities between the East an the West?    
ACA’s European Policy Seminar series is known for its open discussion of thought-provoking questions pertinent to the external dimensions of the European Higher Education Area.  With Erasmus preparing to go global, and inevitably to emerging economies such as China, by 2014, we invite interested parties at all levels to join us at the 35th ACA European Policy Seminar for a journey to re-discover the ‘silk road’ between Europe and China.   

35th in the series “European Policy Seminars” of the Academic Cooperation Association

We gratefully acknowledge the support of our sponsor: the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels - the official representation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to the European Union.