According to the Chinese Ministry of Education (MoE), Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Running Schools (CFCRS) has developed rapidly in recent years playing an important role in promoting reform, cultivating talent and supporting the country’s major education strategies. However, the rapid growth of this partnership model has likely contributed to instances of project level issues with regard to resource allocation by project partners and teacher quality.
On 19 June 2018, the General Office of the MoE released a notice to the provincial education commissions/departments approving the formal termination of some joint institutes and joint programs.
The announcement reflects cumulative closures between 2006 and 2018. While the number of 234 represents around 10% of the total number of CFCRS joint ventures, it should be noted that the ceasing is not a unilateral action from the MoE, and that the majority of these had already seen their approval period expire, while others had voluntarily stopped recruiting new students.
A total of 45 joint programs involving Australian partners were confirmed to have ended, which represents almost one third of all Chinese-Australian joint venture at this level.
While the MoE list is largely a reflection of the cumulative closures of joint ventures over the course of more than 10 years, the decision to publish the list reaffirms the Chinese Government’s move to strengthen government supervision of Chinese-foreign education joint ventures and place greater emphasis on quality instead of quantity.
It is important to note that the approval of new CSCRS partnerships has not stopped. On 19 July 2017 the MoE issued a notice approving 27 new joint ventures. The notice together with the list of approved joint programs are available on the MoE.
The 27 joint programs included 24 undergraduate programs and 3 post-graduate programs. One new Australian project was amongst this batch.
On 15 January 2018, the MoE issued a further notice approving new joint ventures, however, neither the notice or list is available online with information on newly approved joint ventures distributed directly to each province. Based on research conducted by the Australian Embassy in Beijing it appears that a further 34 joint programs and 2 joint institutes were approved by the MOE as of 5 July 2018. The 34 new joint programs included 31 undergraduate programs and 3 post-graduate programs.
There is no list available of new Australian joint ventures in either of these most recent approval batches but it is clear that the MoE remains committed to CFCRS as a valuable form of international cooperation and continues to approve new joint projects and institutes.