China and EU education ministers have discussed building a joint “education Silk Road towards the future” and signed agreements on mutual recognition of degrees.
The meeting, held in Beijing last week, also addressed “student exchanges and other important areas such as expanding cooperation between universities and enterprises and cultivating student entrepreneurs and innovation”, according to China’s Ministry of Education.
Ahead of the meeting, China signed agreements on the mutual recognition of degrees with 19 EU member states, including the UK, France and Germany, the ministry said.
The China-EU education minister’s conference had the title of “Building a China-EU education Silk Road towards the future”.
According to official statistics, more than 303,000 Chinese students were studying in the EU by the end of 2015, accounting for 24 per cent of all Chinese students abroad, an increase of 7.5 per cent from 2014.
More than 45,000 EU students came to China in 2015, accounting for 11.3 per cent of all international students studying in the country last year.
Tibor Navracsics, European commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport, said at the meeting: “Education helps us to understand each other better and build economic and social progress together.
“It is therefore no coincidence that Europe and China have this openness and are developing closer ties by cooperating on education.”
He added: “We have a solid base to build on: proven initiatives that have enabled us to boost academic cooperation, to foster student, teacher and researcher mobility, and to find a common language for the modernisation of our education systems.”
Mr Navracsics highlighted support for student and academic mobility between Europe and China via the EU’s Erasmus+ programme, as well as joint courses being offered by Chinese and European institutions.