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The First Meeting of the EU-China Higher Education Platform for Cooperation and Exchanges (HEPCE) was successfully held on 25 April in Brussels with the enthusiastic support of nearly 200 participants from the European and Chinese higher education circles. The day began with higher education policy updates given by Jan Truszczyński, Director General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, and Du Yubo, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Education, PR China. Directly following the policy updates was a series of practical examples of ongoing EU-China joint initiatives, ranging from joint programmes to joint operation of education institutions. The TUNING experts and individual universities from both the European and Chinese sides also took the occasion to exchange working experience and information in two parallel sessions.
Last but not least, the day was concluded with a high-level China-EU Higher Education Policy Dialogue attended by a good mix of policymakers, university presidents, tuning experts, and representatives from the China Scholarship Council (CSC), the European University Association (EUA), and the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). The final session, featuring a dialogue led by Mr. Zhang Daliang from China’s Ministry of Education and Xavier Prats-Monné, Deputy Director General for Education and Culture, served both as a review of all the discussions in the day and an initial exploration of potential directions towards future EU-China cooperation in higher education.
The first HEPCE meeting was a co-production of CSC, EUA and ACA, fully supported by the Chinese government and the European Commission. While the CSC and EUA were at the forefront of the organisation of a university presidents’ dialogue, ACA contributed mainly to the organization of the policy dialogue by tying together the different acts in the intensive five-part programme.
In his concluding remarks for the presidents’ dialogue, ACA Director Bernd Wächter congratulated the success of the first HEPCE meeting in showing that EU-China cooperation in higher education rests on a rich and broad foundation. Having said that the establishment of HEPCE implies that further efforts are needed for deepening mutual understanding and cooperation based on the existing foundation. The second HEPCE meeting is scheduled to take place in Beijing in spring next year.