Chinese colleges reach out to ASEAN countries Education Articles


Having set sights in international education arena and captured bulk of the international students worldwide and become the 3rd most popular study destination after US and UK, China universities now reinforced its commitment to bring high quality education by exporting higher education to the rest of the world and now focus on ASEAN countries. Read the full stories below on why China wants to branch out its universities?  

By Zhao Kai in Guiyang and Luo Wangshu in Beijing
Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 09:08

Malaysian student Bong Meen Szer was thrilled to find out that her alma mater, Xiamen University in Fujian province, is going to establish a campus in her motherland.

“It is good news for Malaysian students that another prestigious overseas university is coming to our country, providing more choices,” she said, adding that it will be a great opportunity for local students to experience a global education.

Like Xiamen University, Chinese universities are gradually taking the first steps across the border to showcase Chinese ideas and culture. They first eye stops at the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Chinese and ASEAN top education officials are encouraging more Chinese universities to reach out, conducting international cooperation programs and opening overseas campuses in ASEAN countries, aiming to enhance higher education cooperation.

During the seventh China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week, held in Guizhou province in the first week of September, education officials from China and ASEAN countries exchanged ideas on enhancing higher education cooperation.

The overseas campuses of Chinese universities include Suzhou University in Laos, Singapore University of Technology and Design, and Xiamen University in Malaysia, Hao Ping, deputy education minister of China, said at the opening ceremony on Monday.

Hao said such exploration will improve higher education development in China and Southeast Asian countries, allow sharing of resources and benefit education as a whole in the Sino-ASEAN region.

By the end of last year, the number of Chinese students studying in ASEAN countries exceeded 110,000. A total of 70,000 students from ASEAN countries are studying in China.

Nasir bin Mat Dam, the deputy secretary-general of development of higher education of Malaysia’s Education Ministry, said that the forum provides an opportunity for ASEAN countries and China to discuss challenges facing cross-border education.

With more global communication in the higher education field, the demands in terms of global education — including transferring credits and clarifying the degree and diploma system — are increasing, he said.

Read more at:

(China Daily) – Cross-border expansion signifies China’s growing clout and rising world interest in country, report Luo Wangshu in Chongqing, Cao Yin in Beijing and Wang Hongyi in Shanghai.

Loke Pui Yan has been studying for her master’s degree at Xiamen University in Fujian province since the autumn. The campus, which is along a beach, is a sight to behold. It is scattered with elegant historical buildings, enjoys pleasant weather and ocean breezes, and almost, but not quite, erases any feelings Loke has of culture shock and homesickness.

Although the 29-year-old Malaysian has enjoyed her studies and her stay in China, she was thrilled to learn that the college is ready to establish a campus in her homeland.

Xiamen University will be the first Chinese college to open a campus abroad to showcase its ideas and culture, improve China’s image in the world and enhance relations with other countries.

Unlike Western universities, which have flocked to China, the country has come late to the party.

Now it is trying to play catch-up and ride the globalization of the education business.

Over the past decades, a large number of overseas universities have come to China to set up joint institutions and exchange programs. The Ministry of Education put the number of joint projects now at about 1,500, including Shanghai New York University, Wenzhou Kean University and Kunshan Duke University.

But the number of Chinese higher education institutes going out and establishing cooperation with overseas education bodies is small, although the Chinese government is supporting the internationalization of higher education to spread influence in the world, a process known as soft diplomacy.

Zhang Xiuqin, director of international cooperation and exchanges at the Ministry of Education, said China will support and help eligible universities to go out and globalize.

Xiamen University announced in February it will be the first one to take the step. And in May, Zhejiang University, one of the nation’s top-five colleges, said it will also build a campus in London. It also has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for furthering academic collaboration with London University’s Imperial College.

Innovative model

“This is indeed an exciting opportunity but needs much innovative effort,” said Song Yonghua, executive vice-president of Zhejiang University, speaking of the establishment of the London campus.

He said Zhejiang University and Imperial College will start exploring the feasibility of establishing facilities in the new Imperial West campus for joint academic activities.

Xu Liping, deputy director of the South Asian Studies Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, “It is innovative for Chinese universities to go abroad to show their educational ideas and culture.”

Most activities so far between Chinese universities and foreign institutes are too simple and superficial, and do not provide long-term development, Xu said.

Chinese universities started to expand toward the end of the 20th century. With the fast development of colleges, many universities are seeking international cooperation, including faculty collaboration and student exchange programs.

In addition to these programs, most Chinese universities reach foreign counterparts through Confucius Institutes, offering language and cultural classes.

However, setting up campuses and granting degrees is still a new field.

“Xiamen University is attempting to break through the superficial educational or teaching communications between countries,” Xu said, adding it will be good for China to improve its image in the world and enhance its relationship with neighbors.

Xiamen University’s 60-hectare Malaysia campus will be built in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, at a cost of about 1.26 billion yuan ($205 million).

Construction will start in January 2014 and recruitment will begin in the autumn of 2015. The first class intake will be 500 students.

The student population will number 5,000 by 2020. The campus is ambitious to become home to 10,000 students, including 9,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students.

Five majors will be open to students in the first stage at the Malaysia campus: Chinese language and culture, Chinese medicine, computer sciences, economics and electronic engineering. All lectures will be in English, except for those on Chinese language and culture and Chinese medicine.

Read more at: