[photopress:mba_professor_gow.jpg,full,alignright]The British think-tank Agora has just released ‘British Universities in China: The Reality Beyond the Rhetoric.’ It suggests that, despite the positive news, all is not as it should be.
The report says that much of the thinking by academics in Britain about the changes in China and how they affect the international higher education market has been ‘alarmingly woolly.’
The report’s introduction notes that ‘reportedly one UK vice chancellor or pro vice chancellor a week has been landing in Beijing or Shanghai to explore future partnership opportunities. Yet there is no overarching strategy about what UK higher education should be trying to achieve.’
Authors of the report said that the comments applied equally well to the American institutions whose presidents and provosts are flocking to China in droves as well.
Some experts on international education are decidedly unimpressed with the criticism.
Peggy Blumenthal, executive vice president of the Institute of International Education, finds the new reports ‘somewhat naive,’ especially in the way they view academic relations with China as something that must have a winner and a loser. ‘If China does not succeed economically, educationally, financially, we are all in trouble,’ she said. ‘We should be doing everything we can around the world to make sure that China’s higher education system is benefiting from all of our institutions.’
The most damning part of the Agora report was written by Ian Gow, pro vice chancellor (sort of like a vice president in American academic circles) of the University of West England and formerly the founding provost of the University of Nottingham’s campus in Ningbo, China. He is illustrated here.
In a recent interview Ian Gow said that while he wrote his article for a British audience, it ‘absolutely’ applied to American colleges and universities as well.
He said, and this is an aspect not many will have considered, ‘I don’t think people are thinking enough of the potential future threat of the higher education hub being moved to China. I think a lot of people are going in for PR’s sake. It’s far too much looking at it through rose-tinted spectacles.’
The full article giving both sides of the question — argument is too strong a word — can be found by clicking on Source. Mark you, the idea of China being a threat to higher education institutions in Britain and the United States would not meet with universal disapproval.
Source: Inside Higher Ed