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Deepened opening-up leads to new chapter of international education: Laurie Pearcey

(People's Daily Online)    16:12, May 20, 2019

UNSW taking part in the first CIIE (photo provided by UNSW Sydney)

Sydney, May 20 (People's Daily Online /Ningxin Yuan) Just 40 years ago, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) welcomed its first student from the Chinese mainland. Today, thanks to China's reform and opening-up over the past four decades, the university is welcoming more and more students from China. With over 15,000 Chinese students currently studying at the university, China has become the largest source of international students for UNSW Sydney.

In November 2018, ten Australian universities, including UNSW Sydney, participated in the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

UNSW taking part in the first CIIE (photo provided by UNSW Sydney)

"Over those years, we have seen tens of thousands of Chinese students successfully come to UNSW to study undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees and we see the market from China growing quite substantially," said Laurie Pearcey, the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) of UNSW Sydney in a recent interview with People's Daily Online. He believes that the success of the first CIIE showed China's commitment to further openness. Meanwhile, it also provided a high-quality platform for Australian universities to showcase their educational capacities as well as scientific and technological achievements.

"CIIE has emerged as a 'flagship' for what we do as part of our engagement in China, and it is a vital vehicle for our broader China strategy," said Pearcey. He sees being actively involved in the CIIE as an important measure for UNSW Sydney to raise its international reputation. He notes that it's an excellent opportunity for promoting academic communication and industrial collaboration between the university and China.

Bringing its cutting-edge technology and latest research achievements, UNSW Sydney joined the Australian National Pavilion organized by Austrade at CIIE. Pearcey was quite impressed by this high-standard expo.

Mr. Laurie Pearcey, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) of UNSW Sydney taking an interview with People’s Daily Online (photo by Li Hanyue)

As one of the most prestigious universities in the Asia-Pacific region, UNSW Sydney has always attached great importance to collaboration with China. In 2016, with the support of the governments from both countries, the Torch Innovation Precinct was launched in USNW Sydney in partnership with China's Ministry of Science and Technology as the first precinct outside China. This program aims to forge mutually rewarding partnerships and deepen the bilateral economic and technological collaboration. It focuses on utilizing pioneering research capabilities of the university, especially in the fields of photovoltaics, solar energy, quantum computing, materials and so on.

"CIIE was an opportunity for us to talk to prospective partners about the precinct and how we can maximize its value to China in the university," Pearcey said.

The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It is also the 70th anniversary of the founding of UNSW. In the interview, Pearcey took a very optimistic view of the broadening of the Chinese market. He pointed out that China's reform and opening-up brought a wide range of opportunities as well as challenges.

UNSW future energy research Exhibition (photo by Li Hanyue)

Pearcey believes Australian higher education significantly benefits from continuous opening-up. "The Double First Class University Plan that Chinese universities are pursuing presents big opportunities for Australian universities to partner with those universities as they look to rise in quality."

"I think it will also bring challenges. You will see more and more Chinese universities enjoying very prominent positions in world university rankings, and this is a good thing because it will encourage everyone to keep on innovating," Pearcey said.

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