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China, EU hold first-ever dialogue on higher education


09:48, April 26, 2013

Presidents from both Chinese and European universities exchanges views with each other at the EU-CHINA University Presidents' Dialogue during the 1st Meeting of EU-China Higher Education Platform for Cooperation and Exchange (HEPCE) in Brussels, Belgium, April 25, 2013. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan)

BRUSSELS, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of university presidents from China and Europe were brought together on Thursday to share their success stories and concerns in establishing cooperation projects, so as to provide policy suggestions and enhance compatibility between the two's higher education systems.

"China's higher education aims at achieving better quality, better structure, deeper reform and more fairness, and the European Union (EU) is successful in transforming its diversity into vitality and impetus for development," China's Vice Education Minister Du Yubo said in the opening speech.

The event was the first meeting of the EU-China higher education platform for cooperation and exchanges (HEPCE), a flagship event in the framework of the high-level people-to-people dialogue established last year as the third pillar of the EU-China relations complementing the strategic dialogue and the economic and trade dialogue.

"As an innovative project for the China-EU partnership, the people-to-people dialogue is both realistically and strategically important for consolidating public support," he added.

There are more than 35,000 students from EU member states studying in China. According to Du, the Chinese government is scheduled to offer 30,000 scholarships for European students and researchers in the next five years.

"We welcome new scholarship schemes from China, and the EU is ready to offer grants," said Jan Truszczynski, directorate-general for education and culture in the European Commission, adding that an EU-China language project was to be launched in June.

Presidents and representatives of Chinese and European universities had extensive exchanges over models for EU-China joint higher education institutions, joint degree programs and cooperation in the fields of European studies and Chinese studies.

"Europe is the origin of modern universities and the pioneer in mobility and exchanges. Collaborating with Europe is a strategic choice for us," said Huai Jinpeng, president of China's Beihang University.

Roger Woods, associate pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Nottingham in the UK, suggested more interaction with local universities while sharing the story of establishing a branch school of the University of Nottingham in the Chinese city of Ningbo in 2004.

"We are moving away from the notion that China poses competition. We need to move from collaboration to deep collaboration," he said.

2013 marks the 10th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. For the past decade, the two have witnessed increasingly close exchanges and substantial cooperation in such areas as trade and investment, foreign affairs and global issues, and culture and education.

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