Dear Reader,

This newsletter carries a selection of curated articles from China that are of interest to higher education institutions from around the world with respect to student recruitment, partnerships, scholarships/grants, student/faculty mobility and the regulatory landscape.

Sannam S4 is ready to help you with your China strategy. Our China team aims to maximise what you are doing now while exploring new outreach activities across the country. We provide expertise in a wide variety of areas, from student recruitment to exchange programmes and partnership development.

We currently offer opportunities through the American Short-term Study in China Initiative, an ongoing scholarship programme offered by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China.

Discover our Global Gateway Programme with China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. We launched our Sino-UK Global Gateway Partnerships with the support of CCIEE which was attended by 45 Chinese institutions who met 9 of our UK partner institutions. The UK-China Institutional Partnership Programme is aimed at connecting institutions from both countries to build partnerships that enable Chinese students to pursue their education in the UK via joint programmes, dual degrees, and other types of collaborative provisions.

The next edition of this newsletter will be published in the last week of August 2021.

Editorial Team

Sustainability Goals

The Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School announces five business sustainability indices to promote responsible business practices in Hong Kong and Greater China

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School’s Centre for Business Sustainability (CBS) announces results of the 6th Hong Kong Business Sustainability Index (HKBSI), the 2nd Greater Bay Area Business Sustainability Index (GBABSI) and the 6th Hong Kong SME Business Sustainability Index (HKSMEBSI), as well as launches the 1st Greater China Business Sustainability Index (GCBSI) and the 1st Greater China Hotel Business Sustainability Index (Hotel BSI). The unique “Values – Process – Impact” (VPI) model, which was developed and launched in 2015 by CBS, is used in the assessment of all the five Business Sustainability Indices (BSI). Each index company was assessed in three major areas, namely Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Values, CSR Process (comprising CSR Management and Practice) and CSR Impact against seven stakeholder groups (Community, Consumer, Employee, Environment, Government, Investor and Supplier), as well as the company’s contributions to economic, social and environmental sustainability. As the Technical Partner of the projects, SGS Hong Kong Limited conducted sample check and verification of the information provided by individual companies. The Sinyi School of NCCU College of Commerce in Taiwan also helped compile the data of Taiwan companies in the GCBSI. Read More.

EdTech Developments

Yum China launches Digital Classroom initiative to increase digital learning opportunities for children in rural areas

Yum China Holdings, Inc launched its Digital Classroom Initiative, a new CSR programme to help students with limited access to online education to learn coding and acquire essential digital skills. Building on a successful pilot introduced in 2019, Yum China has donated RMB 5 million to fund the Digital Classroom Initiative, providing children in rural areas with access to digital learning opportunities. The launch ceremony was held at a primary school in Hunan province where local children will receive new computer equipment and free instructor-led virtual coding courses. Read More.

Chinese edtech firms downsize amid regulatory uncertainty

China’s edtech sector is slowly deflating as regulators are becoming more assertive. GSX Techedu has decided to lay off 30% of its employees. Users of the career network Maimai shared how GSX withdrew the employment offers they had received. Chinese regulators are intensifying their crackdown on the internet economy, this time with their focus set on the online education sector. Start-ups, including VIPKid, Huohua Siwei, Yuanfudao, and Zuoyebang, have suspended their IPO plans, according to Bloomberg. The industry is putting too much pressure on kids and widening the gap between rich and poor, with children from privileged families spending far more time with instructors than those who can’t afford to. Read More.

Our Insights

This month we examine Chinese student mobility, which is largely expected to pick up this fall after being sharply curtailed due to the pandemic. Let’s take a look at Chinese student activity as well as policy developments for indications of trends we can expect in the coming months:

Student activity

The 2021 Gaokao exam kicks off with record candidates and new options

A record 10.78 million Chinese students, about 70,000 more than last year, are taking the annual National College Entrance Examinations (NCEE), commonly known as gaokao. Last year, gaokao was delayed by a month due to COVID-19, but this year’s exam was back in its regular early June slot. Depending on different regions and different situations, local departments have formulated targeted COVID-19 prevention and control plans and examination organization plans for the college entrance examination, including separate arrangements for asymptomatic infection, close contact and sub-close contact candidates to take the exam in separate isolation centers. This year, the Ministry of Education of China added 37 new undergraduate majors, covering nine categories, including law, education and history. A total of 43 universities have approved new majors, and most of them will start to recruit students for the first time this year. Read More.

Increase in high school students going abroad

However, at the same time, the proportion of high school students going abroad has also increased. According to Soho News, the proportion of students at several elite high schools in Beijing and Shanghai going abroad for university study has reached 10-20 percent, with some schools reporting study abroad cohorts of 30-40 percent. Additionally, Zhuanlan Zhihu, a Chinese version of Quora, reports that 42.55 percent of students who applied to the US in 2019 were from local, traditional high schools in China, with the remainder of applicants from international high schools.

Some students have already postponed or cancelled study abroad plans

According to a survey conducted by QS in 2020 of international students across the globe, when asked whether their study abroad plans had been affected by the pandemic, 48 percent of students said they had decided to postpone their study abroad plans while ten percent said they had cancelled them. Only four percent of Chinese students hadn’t planned to study abroad. Over half of the students said they didn’t want to continue studying online and hoped to go to the US for in-person classes. Read More.

Policy developments

Students from China can enter the US this fall

President Biden has implemented a policy allowing students the opportunity to come to the US this fall. According to the policy, students and certain academics covered exchange visitor programmes may now qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE) if their academic programme begins August 1, 2021 or later. Read More.

However, obstacles remain

While Chinese students who are in programmes that begin after August 1 are eligible for NIE waivers, visa processing backlogs may potentially delay their start date. There remains some concern, too, about the ability of students studying STEM subjects to easily obtain visas. Read More.

Chinese students look to the UK and Canada as Australia remains largely closed

Australia is losing its lustre as a popular host destination for Chinese students. The challenge for many agents is contending with parents and students who believe waiting for Australian borders to open only places them in a longer queue for admissions, visas and flights, once travel resumes. Read More.

University Partnerships

Dundee University in a new China partnership

Dundee University has launched a joint education institute in China that is expected to develop collaboration on research and learning. The Dundee International Institute of Central South University (DIICSU) builds on an existing relationship between the School of Science and Engineering and one of China’s top universities. It is expected that 300 students per academic year will be enrolled at the DIICSU, spending all four years in China studying mathematics, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and computing science. Students will be taught by staff from both universities, with the first intake in September 2022. The University of Dundee already has strong links within China, with this latest agreement making it the only Scottish institution with three Chinese Government-approved Joint Educational Programmes/Institutes (JEP/I) with three Double First-Class Universities Read more.

Novelis inks memorandum of understanding with China’s Tsinghua University on automotive aluminium R&D

Atlanta’s rolled aluminium firm Novelis said that its operations in the Peoples Republic of China has linked up with one of the country’s top universities in an agreement to collaborate on increasing the use of aluminium in the country’s automotive industry. Novelis’s Shanghai Customer Solution Center (CSC) will be working with the Tsinghua University Suzhou Automotive Research Institute (TSARI) on the task of increasing the industry’s already-rapid acceptance of aluminium in production. The agreement will have the organizations partnering on body-in-white applications for the entire range of automotive products, both electric and conventionally powered varieties. Read more.

UNITAR, Tsinghua University and University of Geneva to join forces to set global standards for SDG education and open innovation

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the Geneva School of Economics and Management of the University of Geneva and the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set global standards for SDG Education and Open Innovation. The Agreement formalizes and enhances the ongoing collaboration between the signatory parties towards promoting the education and practice of open innovation for the SDGs and developing relevant standardization and governance models for the Global Goals and the Agenda 2030. Read more.

China Culture Corner

China’s slash generation, awakening a sense of self and identity

China’s so-called ‘slash-generation’ is making itself known! Numbers of young people are refusing to be limited to a narrow set of interests, resulting in the term ‘slashers’ or ‘slash youths’, as they use slashes when self-identifying their professions and pastimes. According to a Beijing Youth Daily survey, there are more than 80 million slashers in China, and with people working so many different jobs and gigs, could the future of work change as a result, too? Read more.

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