Our latest guest blogger offers an insight into the drivers behind the move to an 'international education' in China.
Five years ago I accompanied a senior Chinese provincial education official paying visits to UK examination bodies, such as Cambridge International Examinations and Edexcel, where we talked about expanding pilots running A Level courses at state schools in the province, where they have the largest number of international joint programs.
Since then, they have started international programs at five new state schools by running A Level courses. Due to the unclear regulations and guidelines on running the international programmes at state schools, as well as concerns over the inappropriate use of public resources for international courses, the speed of expanding was not as significant as originally expected.
According to my personal understanding, the primary reason to run the international courses at the state schools is that those head teachers want to improve their teaching quality as well as enhance their reputation to attract more talented students! In the coming years, the market for running international programs will continue to grow, particularly at those tier two cities, where their GDP is still at a double digit rate of growth and more and more private funding and investment will enter into the sector.
Interestingly, I recently talked to the chairman of a well-known charity foundation in China who told me that they are launching a project to offer free international courses, in partnership with a local school and local government, for children of migrant workers who can't afford the fees but with talent and a strong desire to continue their studies abroad.
Is this a kind of educational innovation or social innovation?
Projects Manager, Education and Society (East China) British Council
The views represented here are the authors' own and not those of the British Council.