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China’s Ministry of Education closed 252 Sino-foreign cooperative education institutions and projects

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Since 2014, China’s Ministry of Education has been cleaning house when it comes to transnational education. There are over 800 of these programs that have been approved along with over 600 joint programs with vocational colleges. These TNE programs play an important role in China’s push to internationalize its higher education after China’s 2010 announcement of ‘2010-2020 Mid- and Long-Term China Education Reform and Development Plan.’ By Nov 2014, Premier Li Keqiang included TNE among a list of priority areas and industries for China as part of its drive to boost domestic consumption, signalling that policy support for TNE in China will remain robust into the future but with a catch.

The Ministry of Education has taken steps to ensure quality control over existing programs to safeguard students and are more strategic when it comes to newly formed TNE programs. How does MOE measure these joint programs? 1) By evaluating resources foreign institutions put into the existing partnerships in China. MOE wants to see greater integration and more participation of foreign partners in the teaching activities of local institutions.
2) By discouraging foreign universities from forming multiple partnerships in the same subject area, worrying that quality may suffer. Business and administrative studies are currently oversupplied, making up more than one third of all TNE joint partnerships in China. These business joint programs will be under close scrutiny moving forward unless they have a proven track record.

Just how seriously will the MOE enforce the quality of joint programs. By Nov 2014, 252 joint programs were closed by the MOE. 49 of these joint programs were closed in Shanghai alone! Most were non-diploma, non-academic training programs. See the following post for list (use Chrome to translate into English

Gone are the days when a foreign institution can apply for multiple programs simultaneously as MOE is taking their time to wait and see which programs deliver and which programs are dormant. More than ever, the best thing to do is to find a really good local Chinese partner so that your joint program will meet/exceed MOE’s criteria and be kept on the MOE’s list.

Irene Tieh
USA College Connection

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