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Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 09:08

Chinese colleges reach out to ASEAN countries

By Zhao Kai in Guiyang and Luo Wangshu in Beijing

Malaysian student Bong Meen Szer was thrilled to find out that her alma mater, Xiamen University in Fujian province, is going to establish a campus in her motherland.

“It is good news for Malaysian students that another prestigious overseas university is coming to our country, providing more choices,” she said, adding that it will be a great opportunity for local students to experience a global education.

Like Xiamen University, Chinese universities are gradually taking the first steps across the border to showcase Chinese ideas and culture. They first eye stops at the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Chinese and ASEAN top education officials are encouraging more Chinese universities to reach out, conducting international cooperation programs and opening overseas campuses in ASEAN countries, aiming to enhance higher education cooperation.

During the seventh China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week, held in Guizhou province in the first week of September, education officials from China and ASEAN countries exchanged ideas on enhancing higher education cooperation.

The overseas campuses of Chinese universities include Suzhou University in Laos, Singapore University of Technology and Design, and Xiamen University in Malaysia, Hao Ping, deputy education minister of China, said at the opening ceremony on Monday.

Hao said such exploration will improve higher education development in China and Southeast Asian countries, allow sharing of resources and benefit education as a whole in the Sino-ASEAN region.

By the end of last year, the number of Chinese students studying in ASEAN countries exceeded 110,000. A total of 70,000 students from ASEAN countries are studying in China.

Nasir bin Mat Dam, the deputy secretary-general of development of higher education of Malaysia’s Education Ministry, said that the forum provides an opportunity for ASEAN countries and China to discuss challenges facing cross-border education.

With more global communication in the higher education field, the demands in terms of global education — including transferring credits and clarifying the degree and diploma system — are increasing, he said.

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