KIEV, June 23 (Xinhua) -- The chiefs of 36 major Chinese and Ukrainian universities held a roundtable forum here on Friday to discuss cooperation in higher education and share their experiences.
The discussion, which was held at the Kiev Taras Shevchenko National University, brought together 62 presidents and chancellors of Chinese and Ukrainian universities.
While addressing the forum, Peng Long, president of Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), spoke highly of China-Ukraine higher education cooperation, noting that there are good opportunities to further enhance it.
"The prospects for the development of our cooperation have a good background and I hope that we will manage to build bridges of our cooperation even more efficiently," Peng said.
In the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Ukrainian Centre was set up in the BFSU in June 2016, Peng said, noting that eight students are currently learning Ukrainian language at the educational facility.
Besides, the BFSU has participated in the exhibition titled "Ukrainian Traditional Culture and Painting", which was held in November last year in Beijing, he said.
At the forum in Kiev, the BFSU plans to further deepen its partnership with Ukrainian universities, signing cooperation agreements with Ukraine's National Linguistic University and several other educational establishments, Peng added.
Moreover, Rui Zhiyuan, president of Lanzhou University of Technology, said that his university is already reaping fruits from cooperation with Ukrainian partners.
"In 2015-2016, we received scholarship programs for student exchanges in five directions, including such areas as material knowledge, welding and construction," Rui said.
"We cooperate with Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute, the National Metallurgical Academy of Ukraine, Kiev University of Construction and Architecture and Ivano-Frankivsk National Technical University of Oil And Gas," he said.
Chinese and Ukrainian universities have witnessed frequent student exchanges. In 2016, a total of 3,552 Chinese students studied in Ukraine, while Chinese universities have trained 2,896 Ukrainian students.
Local experts believe that those exchanges will further deepen, in particular, due to the rising popularity of Chinese culture and language in Ukraine.
Currently, there are five Confucius Institutes and a Confucius Classroom in the East European country, where hundreds of Ukrainians are learning Chinese. Besides, many universities across Ukraine are offering a range of Mandarin courses for their students.
Gennady Pivnyak, Vice-President of the Union of Rectors of Ukraine, said that his university has already benefited from cooperation with Chinese partners.
"Our University has sufficient experience of cooperation with Chinese universities and we have a center for learning Chinese," said Pivnyak, who is also a president of the National Mining University in Dnipro city in central Ukraine.
He added that the roundtable meeting between the chiefs of Chinese and Ukrainian universities will help to further deepen the partnership.
"Today is a very bright day, and we will be able to sign the agreements we need in the sphere of energy cooperation. We are interested in cooperation with Beijing University of Technology, Lanzhou University of Technology, and Lanzhou University," Pivnyak said.
Although cooperation between Chinese and Ukrainian universities is flourishing, the chiefs of the educational establishments of the two countries believe that the potential of such cooperation is still not fully tapped.
Vil Bakirov, president of the Kharkiv National University in eastern Ukraine, said that the roundtable forum in Kiev is an important platform to establish new links between cooperating institutions and create new higher education programs between China and Ukraine.
"First of all, I want to stress the great importance of this forum in terms of scope and tasks. We have not yet fully utilized the enormous opportunities that Ukraine and China have. I am deeply convinced that this forum will allow us to make cooperation broader and deeper," Bakirov said.
The forum, which was opened by visiting Chinese Minister of Education Chen Baosheng, his Ukrainian counterpart Liliya Grynevych, and Chinese Ambassador to Ukraine Du Wei, marked the second meeting of Chinese and Ukrainian university chiefs. The first forum was held in 2012.