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UK and Chinese higher education leaders come together for inaugural joint summit

Date: December 22 - 2021

A post-event summary of the inaugural China-UK Higher Education Summit is now available for QAA Members. Nearly 200 leaders from UK and Chinese higher education came together last month for the first in a series of China-UK Higher Education Summit events, co-hosted by QAA and the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE). The event, which was held online, focused on digital pedagogy and provided a space for senior leaders in higher education from both countries to share views, experiences and best practice with respect to digital pedagogy.

Speakers at the event included representatives from UK and Chinese higher education institutions, including those engaged in joint provision, as well as representatives from sector agencies in both countries, including China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC), Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE), Advance HE, Jisc and CERNET Education (China Education and Research Network). These presentations offered delegates an insight into some of the challenges faced by higher education institutions in the quality assurance of digital teaching and learning, and how providers have risen to this challenge.

Some of the key reflections emerging from the event included:

  • The importance of the longstanding partnership between China and UK higher education through which we can deepen our understanding and strengthen our trust in each other’s higher education systems.
  • The value that online delivery of higher education offers for enhancing the student academic experience. Presenters noted that best practice from online teaching and learning can be, and often is, used to enhance the quality of face-to-face teaching.
  • Higher education institutions must prioritise staff professional development in order to enhance the quality of the student learning experience.
  • Clear and consistent policy which encompasses an inclusive approach to student engagement is the key to maintaining a high-quality academic experience and this must be applied to all modes of study.

Representatives from the CSCSE also presented the outcomes of a survey it carried out alongside QAA earlier this year, examining how QAA Members have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, affirming their confidence in UK higher education’s response to the pandemic.

Speaking about the event, Stephanie Sandford, QAA’s Director of International and Professional Services commented: 'This was an excellent demonstration of the longstanding commitment to quality that lies at the heart of the China-UK partnerships in higher education. The event offered a space through which Chinese and UK leaders could discuss their respective experiences of digital pedagogy and consider how this could be used to strengthen partnerships into the future. We look forward to further exploring the special relationship between the higher education sectors of both countries in future events.'