The Three Stages of the Internationalisation of China’s Higher Education
The paper looks into and discusses the features of the three major stages of the internationalisation of China’s higher education in modern history. The major changes of China’s higher education mirror China’s internal social and political changes. They also reflect the complex global powers over China’s higher education from historical aggression and influence to the current collegiality.
The first stage was featured by “importing/receiving” foreign education when China opened her door in a limited scale to western education. The introduction of western higher education to China’s education system was dominantly for the purpose of national defence and the resistance to western invasion. The openness to the wester/international education, to large extend, was to learn the technology so as to “close off” the threats from western nations. The second stage after the founding of the new China saw China’s higher education struggled between global political and ideology powers to find its own place in the global and local politics. In this process China redefined her political stance and repositioned herself in international politics and education. From early 1990s China’s higher education entered the third stage. This stage sees China started an active strategy and move onto internationalisation of higher education. The nation and its higher education is driven by a strong ambition of becoming a modern and one of the leading members of the global community. This is followed by strategic shift of high education from import to export through ambitious projects. Internally there have been major projects such as the 211 Project to boost the strengths of leading universities. Externally the establishment of joint tertiary education overseas including the recent project of partially funding over one hundred Confucius Institutes worldwide. The out-looking strategy will substantially place Chinese higher education and nation’s culture in international market. The paper will also use experiences of overseas students undertaking higher education in China to discuss the value of China’s internationalisation of higher education.
Keywords: Internationalisation of China’s Higher Education
Manager, Language Programs and Director, Chinese Australian Studies Forum, School of International and Community Studies, RMIT University, Melbourne