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«Internationalization of Higher Education in China: Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Running Schools and the Introduction of High-Quality Foreign ...»

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International Education Studies

Vol. 2, No. 3

Internationalization of Higher Education in China: Chinese-Foreign

Cooperation in Running Schools and the Introduction of High-Quality

Foreign Educational Resources

Zhen Tan

Huazhong Normal University

Wuchang, Hubei 430079, China

Tel: 86-396-285-3006 E-mail: tanzhen9916@hotmail.com


With the acceleration of the internationalization process of higher education in China, the Chinese-foreign cooperation in

running schools (CFCRS) has been developing at an expeditious pace nowadays. It positively enhances the internationalization process of Chinese higher education and greatly contributes to providing the society with talents.

However, the existence of lacking real practical experience in CFCRS greatly undermines introducing high-quality foreign educational resources and personnel; and this does not comply with the idea of CFCRS, which is introducing high-quality foreign educational resources and personnel. This paper deals with the research of CFCRS firstly, followed by the definition and concepts of CFCRS and educational resources. The motive of introducing high-quality foreign educational resources and personnel is annalyzed and the quality of the introduced foreign educational resources and personnel is evaluated, which will assist the improvements and benefit the internationalization of Chinese higher education.

Keywords: Internationalization of higher education, Chinese-foreign cooperation in running schools, High-quality educational resources, China

1. Introduction Scott (Scott, 1998) pointed out, “investment in [higher education] can be translated into comparative economic advantage, a belief encouraged by theories of post-industrial society, which suggest that ‘knowledge’ has become the primary resource in advance economies”. Since China’s reform and opening-up, especially in the 21st century, partnerships between Chinese and international educational bodies have been gradually increased and extended.

International cooperation in higher education is not a totally new phenomenon. Knight and de Wit (Knight & de Wit, 1995) pointed out that there were arguments for ‘the use of a common language, and of a uniform program of study and system of examination’ to facilitate mobility of students and scholars and exchange of ideas in the Middle Ages and up to the end of the 17th century. From that time, universities cooperated across national borders for the reasons of economy, politics, as well as intellect.

According to the statistics, as of 2005 there are some more than 1,000 Chinese-foreign CFCRSs and projects distributing across China’s 28 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities (Jiang, 2006). Undoubtedly, CFCRS is for introducing high-quality educational resources to promote China’s educational development. Article 3 Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Running Schools (RCoCFCRS), which started taking effect on September 1st, 2003, clearly stated that the State encourages CFCRS to form partnership with high-quality foreign educational bodies to provide high-quality education (SCPRC, 2003). The idea was then again emphasized in the Opinion on Some Issues Concerning Chinese-Foreign Co-operation in Running Schools at Present (OSICCFCRSP, 2006). It is not only the fundamental principles of parties to carry out CFCRS projects but also a requisition.

However, CFCRS is still lack of real high-quality foreign educational resources.This limits the promotion of China’s education development (Wen, 2005). Therefore, a study on how to ensure the intake of real high-quality educational resources becomes essential to the future of CFCRS. This paper will discuss the following questions:What is high-quality foreign educational resources? What is the reasons for introducing high-quality foreign educational resources? How to evaluate high-quality educational resources?

2. CFCRS and High-quality Educational Resources Defining the main subject is a basic task of any academic study; it creates preconditions and premises for further studies.

So defining CFCRS comes as the first task of all.

166 International Education Studies August, 2009 What is CRCRS? Article 2 RCoCFCRS describes it as: the activities of foreign and Chinese educational organizations form partnership with the interest of recruiting Chinese domestic students( SCPRC, 2003). This concept includes the ideas that both foreign educational organisations and Chinese educational organisations are the main bodies of CRCRS, the facilities must be located within the territory of China, recruitment must be mainly Chinese national oriented, etc.

CRCRS is a new thing after China’s Reform and Opening-up, and it has undergone three stages of development. ( Huang & Wang, 2006 ) The first stage: from the beginning of the Reform and Opening-up, i. e. 1978, to 1995, before the Provisional Regulations on Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Running Schools (PRCFCR) was enacted.

Since 1987, a lot of top Chinese universities actively conduct various forms of cooperation and exchange programs with oversea institutions from US, Japan, Germany, France, UK and Canada. Remin University of China, Fudan University have successfully held Sino-US Economy workshop and Sino-US Law workshop. Beijing Foreign Studies University and Japan Foundation collaboratively found the Beijing Japanese Studies Centre.

The second stage: from 1995 to 2003 when RCoCFCRS was enacted.

From the beginning of 1990s, as China’s “Reform and Opening-up” has further progresses, Chinese higher education has speed up its internationalization process. A few domestic universities started to form partnerships with foreign educational institutions. As a result, the National Education Committee (now the Ministry of Education) enacted PRCFCR on January 6, 1995. CRCRS has been developing fast since then. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Education, by the end of 2002, there were 712 Chinese-foreign cooperatively-run schools and projects altogether in China, mostly found in East Coast area. That figure was ten times more than that of 1995( MEPRC website, 2003 ).

The third stage: after PCoCFCRS enacts in 2003.

According to PCoCFCRS, CRCRS should be developed according to the following criteria: to gradually enlarge the scale of CRCRS, to gradually improve quality, to increase the diversity of CRCRS modes. All these criteria serve for the purpose of introducing high-quality foreign educational resources.

What are high-quality resources? The definition of high-quality resources should be based on the understandings of the concepts of resources and educational resources.

Originated from economics, “resources” has been widely used in other fields. With the meaning of the basic condition for people to conduct an activity, it not only includes labor, physical and financial resources, but also includes time, place, and information, as well as referring to the related policies, culture, and conception. In addition, related crucial experience, model and research method are as well important “resources”. Above all, any element that functions as the basic condition for an activity is called resources.

So, what are educational resources? Some scholars suggest, “the constitution of educational resources can be divided into principal elements and correlating elements. The educators, students, courses, and facilities are principal elements, while the brands, funds, markets, and management are correlating elements.” According to the definition in the Grand Education Dictionary, educational resources are also described as “educational economic conditions”, which mainly include two aspects: one refers to the laboring, physical and financial sources consumed in the process of education; the second aspect is referred as the education history and experience as well as related educational information (Gu, 1999).

Whereas, according to the basic definition of “resources”, the educational resources are referred to all the basic conditions needed to conduct educational activities.

Educational resources are complex collections of resources, and can be defined and analyzed from different viewpoints.

In terms of the form, educational resources can be divided into tangible and intangible educational resources. In terms of the content, educational resources can be defined as educational human resources, educational material resources, educational finance resources, educational authority resources, educational space resources, educational system resources, educational academy resources, and educational reputation resources; in terms of quality educational resources can be regarded as high-quality educational resources, average educational resources, and low-quality educational resources; in terms of the application of educational resources, they are divided into valid educational resources and invalid educational resources.

What are high-quality educational resources? According to the above definitions of resources and educational resources, high-quality educational resources can be defined as followings: high-quality educational resources are the educational resources that promote education development. It is of course just a general definition and does not specify exact extent to high quality, as the quality extent conceived as high-quality varies along with different projects. As to CFCRS, not all foreign educational resources are high-quality and worthwhile being introduced. Therefore, in the practice of CFCRS, the key to success is the selection of proper cooperative subjects and the introduction of related educational resources. At the same time, the overall academic levels of the resources-exporting party, the selected subject, and related educational resources exporting policy should be taken into account. The most important is that the introduced educational resources

167 International Education StudiesVol. 2, No. 3

should have positive effect on the enlargement of school scale, optimization of discipline structure, improvement of education quality, and effectiveness of school running. As to the evaluation of resources quality, there are three major criteria for the exporting and introducing parties of the resources: teachers’ quality, teaching quality, and students’ quality.

There will be no good teaching effect or high-quality students without high-quality teachers. There are three criteria in evaluating the benefits of CFCRS: the benefit scale, the economic benefit, and the social benefit. The benefit scale can be measured in terms of the total number of involved teachers and students at the school; while the economic benefit can be measured in terms of the ratio of the quality, quantity of graduates and the cost of the education; the social benefit refers to the contribution and effect of CFCRS on the society, including the effects on the economic development, and the contribution to the moral and cultural constructions of the society, which reflects the real value of CFCRS as well as the purpose of introducing high-quality foreign educational resources. Hereby, the high-quality foreign educational resources in present study refer to the concepts, systems and policies, managements, courses, teaching materials, teachers, education features and styles, and other education materials, which have reached world leading level or have special feature in running schools.

3. Motivation of Introducing High-Quality Foreign Educational Resources The motives for a collaborative relationship, however, are numerous.

The importance of inter-university cooperation lies not just in the free movement of staff and students, but in the creation and development of a wide range of strategic alliances that, amongst other options, facilitate the exploitation of scarce capital resources amongst partner institutions;... provide essential ways of introducing new voices into the thinking of the university, of initiating new conversations that cross the traditional faculty or administrative boundaries, of bringing new perspectives to bear... and confer competitive advantage on the partners (Layton, 1997).

The basic goal of CFCRS is to promote China’s education development by introducing high-quality foreign educational resources. The motivation of CFCRS can be analyzed from macro, average, and micro-aspects, in which it comes from aspects of the government, educational institutions, and education consumers.

3.1 The Macro-motivation of CFCRS First of all, the rise of economy, information, and market globalizations is the direct motivation of CFCRS to introduce high-quality foreign educational resources at the end of 20th century. Surely the globalizations of economy, information, and market have increased the international competition of comprehensive national power. Actually, it is the competition of science, technology and national quality, and the most important one is the competition of education. Presently, education development is regarded as the basic national policy in many countries of the world, and the reform and development of education have been greatly accelerated. Facing the challenging situation, Chinese government realizes that the only way to rapidly improve the national education level is to increase the national education opening up, is to introduce advanced education concepts, excellent education talents, curriculum resources, and management experience.

Therefore, China can change from an education importing country into an education exporting country, and finally its international competitiveness would be significantly enhanced.

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