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EU-China mutual recognition of higher learning catches momentum in 21 new agreements

Europe and China are moving forward in their political and cultural endeavours to foster learning exchanges through mobility across geographical divides, and bridge prevailing barriers to building what is termed the ‘China-Europe Silk road of Education’.

China has this month signed with 21 EU-member states agreements on mutual recognition of higher education degrees.  The wave of new commitments to increasing synergies between education systems comes in the frame of the The EU Member states with which more cooperation in international credit mobility will take place concern: France, UK, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland, Netherland, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and Malta. Mutual recognition of of credits, although with a wide range of European countries, for now encompasses some delimitation to three trial disciplines – logistics, information engineering and nursing.

Education as a medium for strengthening ties between the EU and China, sees at the top of the list initiatives as Erasmus+ and Marie Curie Actions under the flagship Horizon 2020. On the Chinese side the Scholarship Council and Hanban actions have fostered similar aims.  Alone Erasmus+ short and long term mobility supported 3000 students and academic staff to move between Europe and China in 2015 and 2016. Over 300,000 Chinese students studied in European institutions in 2015, accounting for 24% of the country’s students abroad, paralleled with 45,0000 of their European peers taking up a study venture in China.

Not only progress on more compatible higher education systems and support for students in credit recognition, has moved to the forefront. Supportive measures as scholarships by the Chinese government are on the rise, that benefitted 3000 European students only last year, brought academic communities closer together, and hold a promise for widening participation. 

State Council The Peoples Republic of China – Press release   European Commission – speech of Tibor Navracsics at the China-EU Education Ministers Conference