Du Zhanyuan, vice minister of China's Ministry of Education, addresses the opening ceremony of the Fifth China-Central and East European (CEE) countries Education Policy Dialogue in Novi Sad, Serbia, on Sept. 21, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Huijuan)
NOVI SAD, Serbia, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- China and 16 Central and East European (CEE) countries should harmonize education policies and strategies, use advantages of each other's education systems in search for new ways for cooperation, as well as to increase the participation in exchanges and diversify their cooperation channels, a Chinese education official said Thursday.
Du Zhanyuan, Vice Minister of China's Ministry of Education and chief of the State Language Work Committee, proposed the suggestions at the opening of the Fifth China-CEEC Education Policy Dialogue in Novi Sad, Serbia.
Du opened the dialogue together with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Education Minister Mladen Sarcevic in front of representatives of educational institutions and ministries of China and the 16 CEE countries who gathered here to discuss ways to jointly develop education policies through science, innovation, cooperation and exchange within the Belt and Road Initiative.
"China has formulated an Education Action Plan for Jointly Building the Belt and Road Initiative, which can be a guidance to enhance educational cooperation and joint action of countries within the Belt and Road Initiative," Du said.
He recalled that during the past 5 years since the establishment of the educational cooperation mechanism, there has been a great increase in the exchange of overseas students between China and the CEE countries, as well as that 15 CEE languages are being taught to students in Chinese universities.
Summing up successes, he said that 3,800 Chinese study at universities in CEE countries, while 5,500 Central and East Europeans study in China -- and these numbers doubled since 2012.
Moreover, Du highlighted improvements in the acknowledgement of academic degrees between China and 11 CEE countries, and signing of agreements on educational cooperation with 8 CEE countries, intensification of high-level visit between them as well as the cooperation between Chinese and CEE universities.
Brnabic, in her speech, promised that Serbia will give its full contribution to the further improvement of the educational cooperation within the Belt and Road initiative and the China-CEE 16+1 mechanism, because the "youth population and good education are a precondition for peace, security, prosperity and overall development of all countries".
"I believe that experts present here in Novi Sad will have a good dialogue on the improvement in educational cooperation... Without adequate educational systems, there can be no sustainable development. Serbia is impressed with successes that China achieves in all areas of its development," Brnabic said.
She said that academic circles are those that move the prosperity forward and that the dialogue on educational policies as well as the regular exchange of students are of importance for the concrete development of cooperation in this area.
Serbian minister of education Mladen Sarcevic said that "China's impressive development" is visible everywhere and that representatives of CEE countries should recognize the long-term perspective and undertake steps to determine the foundation of mutual cooperation.
"Our cooperation in the area of education as well in other fields is of mutual benefit, because our common goals are the stability and prosperity. I am glad that many of our higher education institutions already established cooperation. I hope that it can be additionally developed through cooperation on different projects in areas of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary sciences and studies," he said.
Sarcevic said that the by joining resources, these countries can achieve much better results, and expressed hope that the Fourth Higher Education Institutions Consortium being held here together with the dialogue, will lead to new principles which will unite experts from educational, scientific and innovational fields in order to make education more relevant for business and the society.
The topics of the dialogue are the advancement of education through the joint development of science and innovation, inter-governmental and inter-institutional cooperation in the field of bilateral and multilateral programs as well as mapping of existing capacities of higher education and making them available for strengthening of innovative potentials and competitiveness in countries of the "16+1 mechanism".
The "16+1 mechanism" is a platform created in April 2012 by China and 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.