Editor’s Note: This is the fourteenth installment of Belt and Road Portal's special series on the Belt and Road Big Data Report 2017.
Countries along the Belt and Road routes have become the main source of the international students in China. But China still needs to enhance the quality of its educational exchanges with these countries, according to the Belt and Road Big Data Report 2017 published by the State Information Center.
Since 2012, about 351,900 people from China have gone to the countries along the Belt and Road routes for further education. Last year, China accepted 207,700 students from these countries, up 13.6 percent year-on-year.
The report says that by the end of last year, more than 60 higher education institutions in China have issued their opening-up plans, and 24 universities have set up research institutes or schools in relation to the Belt and Road Initiative.
In October 2015, 47 universities from eight countries and regions along the Belt and Road routes formed a Belt and Road alliance of universities, which has now expanded to 126 schools.
Xi’an Jiaotong University took the initiative to set up a Silk Road university alliance two years ago, which has developed into a family of 135 universities from 35 countries and regions along the Belt and Road routes.
The Ministry of Education issued an action plan in July last year to support education cooperation with Belt and Road countries, vowing to fund 10,000 students from these countries to study in China each year, and send 2,500 government-sponsored students to study in these countries every year, while pledging to strengthen regional vocational education cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road routes.
The ministry signed Belt and Road international education cooperation memoranda of understanding with eight provincial-level regions between September and November last year. And by November last year, 10 provincial-level regions have published their Belt and Road education action plans and Belt and Road talent cultivation plans.
The report also points out that the 40 million overseas Chinese living in the countries along the Belt and Road routes play an active role in promoting education cooperation and cultural exchanges.
By the end of last year, China has opened 134 Confucius Institutes and 130 Confucius Classrooms in countries along the Belt and Road routes. Thailand has the most Confucius Institutes and Classrooms among these countries.The report urges the Chinese government to continue to make good use of the overseas Chinese and the Confucius Institutes and Classrooms, and to found Belt and Road funds for international students to advance education and cultural exchanges.