The idea of establishing a consortium of higher educational institutions as part of greater collaboration between India and China, besides mutual recognition of academic degrees, was broached by Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, on her maiden visit to China. The minister was in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao to take part in the ‘International Conference on ICT and Post-2015 Education’ organised by the Chinese Government and UNESCO on a four-day visit. She held talks with top Chinese officials and discussed steps to follow up on agreements signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit.
An Indian Embassy press release here said that Irani held talks with her Chinese counterpart Yang Guiren on mutual recognition of academic degrees, collaboration in teacher’s training besides establishing a consortium of higher educational institutions. She had also said that The collaboration in teachers training helps both the countries to share their vast experiences in education. Besides Yang, Irani also held talks with Chinese Vice Education Ministers Liu Limin and Du Zhanyuan.
The minister focussed on the implementation of the new Educational Exchange Programme (EEP) signed during Modi’s visit. One MoU dealt with bilateral cooperation in the field of Vocational Education and Skill Development between India and China. Under the framework of the MoU, India and China agreed to work towards capacity development. China will be the key knowledge partner in the Mahatma Gandhi National Institute for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship being set up in Gujarat. Under the MoU, China will provide curriculum in various trade and industry sectors. According to officials, China has trained over 13 million people in skill development in focussed areas for better employment against a million by India.
It may be mentioned that under the documents signed during Modi’s maiden visit to China between May 14 to 16, the two sides had also agreed to set up the Centre for Gandhian and Indian Studies in Fudan University and setting up of a Yoga College in Yunnan University for which India provided the faculty. This is the first time China had a centre for Gandhian studies and the Yoga college will have trained teachers to bring a standard Yoga education.
Today, China has now become the third most favoured nation of international students after the US and UK. According to data put together by the Institute of International Education on international student mobility in 2012, there are many more foreign students in China (3.28 lakh) than in Australia or Germany. South Korea continues to send the maximum number of students to China (21.3%), but a close second is the US (8%). China was not on most students’ radar at the start of the decade; but now it is attracting several thousand foreign students every year. Most of them are studying humanities, followed by medicine.