The scholarships align with China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative to build education collaboration with nearby countries along the Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road trading routes – mostly in Central Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia.
The Ministry of Education says it aims to “remain committed to the balance between outbound and inbound study”
The Belt and Road scholarships will fund study abroad for 2,500 Chinese students per year for the next three years and 10,000 inbound students over five years.
An action plan released last month outlines how the scholarships will help the ministry’s efforts to build education cooperation with these countries.
It doesn’t specify what level of study the scholarships will support or how much money has been allotted, but says the outbound funding aims to “train industrial leaders and skilful talented people”, and encourage more students to study abroad.
The document adds that the ministry aims to “remain committed to the balance between outbound and inbound study”, as well as maintaining the quantity and quality of student exchange.
It also lists further goals to build collaboration with the Silk Road countries, including establishing joint programmes – building on the ambitions of country’s outward-facing strategy released earlier this year.
Improving teacher training is also earmarked in the plan, particularly through visits and exchanges with other countries in the region, in order to “strengthen the exchange of experience and enhance regional quality of education”.