The B.C. Trade Mission to China came to a close yesterday, wrapping up a series of meetings that explored research and commercial prospects, promoted exchange opportunities and announced almost $1.4 million for more than 300 scholarships for students in B.C. and China.
Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson led the B.C. delegation, which included representatives from BCIT, Langara College, Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. The delegation visited and met with officials in Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Chongqing.
“The B.C. brand is well recognized in China, and we have found there is a significant interest in ongoing commercial activity related to this academic exchange,” said Wilkinson. “Companies in Chongqing, for example, are interested in working with B.C. on engine design, aviation and LNG. In addition, we have had positive discussions with Nanjing software professionals interested in expanding academic and commercial relationships with B.C. companies.”
Wilkinson met with Zongshen Industry Group (ZIG) in Chongqing, which is building a college that will offer trades and vocational training programs similar to those at BCIT. ZIG and BCIT signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) during the trade mission to China in 2013 led by Premier Christy Clark.
“BCIT was proud to be part of this mission to foster collaborative relationships and support the profile of British Columbia as a high-quality study destination for students,” said BCIT president Kathy Kinloch. “BCIT looks forward to continuing to build ongoing relationships with Chinese partners, and working together to advance trades and technology training.”
B.C. delegates signed a new MOU with the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Education and a refreshed MOU with Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education. The MOUs promote two-way educational exchange in areas such as teacher and student exchange, vocational education and training and summer and winter camp co-operative programs. A number of institutions also signed agreements with partners to collaborate in areas such as computing science, materials engineering, applied research, teacher training and to facilitate pathways to post-secondary education in BC.
The B.C. government provided $130,000 in scholarship funding to BCIT, Langara College, Simon Fraser University, and the University of British Columbia to support the development of scholarship programs with education partners in China. This funding was matched by the participating B.C. institutions, Chinese post-secondary institutions, the Chongqing Municipal Education Commission and MITACS. A total of almost $1.4 million will be available to support more than 300 scholarships, benefiting both B.C. and Chinese students.
The mission supports the provincial International Education Strategy, which was developed to help the province and its citizens to benefit from the social, cultural and economic opportunities that flow from international education activities. This includes increasing opportunities for B.C. students to study abroad and students from around the globe to study and work in B.C.
China is a key partner with British Columbia in international education. In 2012-13, 25,800 students from China were studying in B.C., which represented 23% of the total 112,800 international students in the province. China is the top source country for all international students in B.C.
Stacey McGaghey Jones
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Advanced Education