A trend of China US education exchange is currently on the rise. American high schools are getting hands-on with the education reform in China by establishing partnerships with Chinese high schools
政冷経熱 (zhèng lěng jīng rè): Cold politics, hot economics. The coined phrase could not be any more true today than in China’s education system. As a result of a national education reform that has not been keeping up with the economic reforms, industries have literally been created overnight by the Chinese consumer resolutely looking to itself to keep pace with globalization. One example I witnessed recently in the heart of Beijing’s Guomao Central Business District was in the form of various Chinese foreign exchange companies – companies that send students to high schools and universities away from China; Such companies now occupy the lion’s share of the area’s premier commercial real-estate. The system in place is not keeping pace with the voracious educational appetite of consumers.
While most development is occurring in the free market through training schools and agencies, one change that the government has permitted is to allow Chinese high schools to form close partnerships with U.S. high schools. One such example is Fairmont Private Schools in Orange County, California that provide Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum, teacher training, and professional development to the 21st Century Experimental School in Beijing. Each year Fairmont sends teachers and administrators on regular visits to Beijing to mentor teachers and review teaching practices in the classroom. Such missions benefit both the local faculty and students alike by providing new methods and insights.
Benefits of the U.S China Education Partnership
Through the foreign high school partnership, Chinese students take 2-3 U.S. high school classes each semester over the course of their high school career and can earn enough credits for a combined Chinese and U.S. accredited high school diploma. The benefits to this track are great: improved English comprehension, extensive course offerings, and most importantly, rigorous preparation to attend universities abroad.
U.S.-China high school partnerships are growing rapidly and companies like Dipont Education are facilitating partnerships to Chinese schools to provide both AP and British A-Levels. The company now has over 450 staff serving over 3,000 students around the country, and it plans to double its staff in the next two years.
The future is bright for foreign academic institutions that aspire to become recognized brands in Asia such as Fairmont. Demand has never been higher in China for outside teachers, teaching practices, and curriculum. This means that for each new school partnership formed, there will be a new group of Chinese students who are better prepared to function in a globalized world. That spells reform.