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China shuts down 234 partnership programs

Beijing’s Ministry of Education has shut down more than one-fifth of the Sino-foreign joint programs and institutes on tertiary education in early July.

/Photo: Pixabay

Some Chinese media have criticised the joint partnerships as 'chaotic'

The ministry released a statement listing 234 terminated transnational programs of its total 2,342 programs, including five jointly managed institutions. The ministry aimed to eliminate under-resourced programs, it said.

“They were regularly criticised for chaotic management and skyrocketing fees.”

According to the British Council, most cancelled programs had already seen their approval period expire, while others had voluntarily stopped recruiting new students.

The ministry’s website also clarifies that all students from 234 institutions and programs named on the ministry’s list have completed their studies.

The provinces with the largest numbers of cancelled programs was in Heilongjiang province, where 100 programs were terminated, followed by Beijing and Shanghai with 32 and 28 termination.

For foreign partner countries, UK had the largest number of partnerships affected, with 62 programs cancelled, accounting for 26% of all terminations, followed by Australia and US with 45 and 20 affected programs respectively.

Among the China-UK programs, the University of Leeds and Edinburgh Napier University had over 20 programs cancelled in total.

Chinese-foreign partnerships first started in 2004, when there was a growing demand on study abroad but still unaffordable for many. Nottingham was the first UK university set up campus in China. Since then, more than 2,000 joint-venture programs established, by promoting a “foreign education experience”.

Sixth Tone, the Chinese media, said that many partnership programs offer a “two + two” package, which students can spend two-years study a domestic program and two abroad at foreign partner school.

“Some joint institutions, such as the China Europe International Business School and Duke Kunshan University have built a strong reputation, but most of them have been regularly criticised for poor teaching, skyrocketing fees, and chaotic management,” Sixth Tone added.

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