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China: MoE creates TNE portal; adds courses to approved list

The Ministry of Education in China is creating an online information management system for transnational education partnerships, it has announced. It has also published an updated list of approved joint ventures, including seven new programmes.

The new programmes added to the 'white list' include two partnerships between Beijing Jiaotong University and RIT in the US. Photo: Xizhou Ren.The new programmes added to the 'white list' include two partnerships between Beijing Jiaotong University and RIT in the US. Photo: Xizhou Ren.

"This will increase transparency and strengthen the ability of both the public and the authorities to monitor TNE projects’ quality"

The ‘one-stop’ portal on the Ministry of Education’s Joint Education and Supervision Information Platform will enable Sino-foreign higher education ventures to apply and register for approval and assessment by the Chinese government and publish materials online.

“The establishment of this online system will likely standardise and improve the efficiency of the TNE application, approval and assessment process”

It will also include a registration system for joint programmes and institutes below degree level; a registration and verification system for overseas qualifications and degrees; and a publication system for annual reports and other relevant information from joint programmes and institutes.

“The establishment of this online system will likely standardise and improve the efficiency of the TNE application, approval and assessment process, which will to some extent reduce the amount of paperwork involved in the TNE application process,” commented Liu Jing, assistant director of education marketing at the British Council.

“This will increase transparency and therefore strengthen the ability of both the public and the authorities to monitor TNE projects’ quality.”

However, Liu warned that the impact on the less formal parts of the application process will be “limited”.

“Institutions planning to set up joint programmes should continue to work closely with their local partners to talk to the relevant authorities before making their application,” he said.

Once the platform is established, the Ministry of Education has said it will continue to work to improve the monitoring process of Sino-foreign education partnerships, along with its publicity, enquiries and complaints procedures.

“The newly approved joint programmes to some extent reflected Chinese authorities’ TNE subject preferences”

The Chinese government’s updated list of approved TNE programmes now numbers 86 ventures in total.

The seven newly-added programmes which are recruiting students for the first time include a joint undergraduate programme in food science and engineering between Ireland’s University College Cork and Beijing Technology and Business University, and two partnerships between Beijing Jiaotong University and Rochester Institute of Technology in the US.

“We are thrilled with this exciting development, and will continue to explore new models of cooperation with existing and new Chinese partners, with an emphasis on two-way trafficwith an increasing number of UCC students transferring to China for part of their studies too,” Emma Connolly, international coordinator at UCC, told The PIE News.

Other courses cover subjects such as communication, engineering and enterprise management.

“The newly approved joint programmes to some extent reflected Chinese authorities’ TNE subject preferences, although there is flexibility in approval and all applications are assessed on a case by case basis,” commented Liu. “In general the subject should address China’s development needs  (eg. bio-engineering, environment).”

And he explained that China is strongly encouraging the establishment of more postgraduate and specialised joint programmes that will attract investment from overseas.

“Business and management related courses are still possible, but need to be positioned or focused on a specific direction which addresses Chinese needs (eg. entrepreneurship and innovation, financial engineering), and are more feasible at the Master’s or PhD level as the number of postgraduate TNE programmes is still very limited compared to undergraduate programmes,” he said.

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