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Foreign Schools Eye Chinese Education Market

A growing number of foreign schools are showing interest in developing the educational market in China, said sources from a recent international forum of famous high school headmasters held here in Shanghai.
At the forum, Carolyn Shaw, headmistress of Roedean School, and Elizabeth Diggory, High Mistress of St. Paul's Girls School, both from Britain, expressed the wish of starting schools in China and enrolling Chinese students.
"While encouraging exchanges between Chinese and foreign middle schools, we should also welcome famous foreign schools to start up new school branches in China, and carry out cooperation in aspects such as exchange of students and training of teachers," said Hu Ruiwen, head of Shanghai Educational Science Institute.
Opening up China's educational market conforms with China's commitments made when it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Hu.
With its huge source of students, China has great potential as a place to begin a new school.
"It will be an efficient choice to improve international cooperation by introducing foreign advanced teaching methods and courses," said Hu, who suggested an educational model for students' exchange program featuring two years' study in China and one more year overseas.
Graham Able, vice-president of International Boys’ Schools Coalition, admitted Chinese students could do better than their counterparts of same age groups in western countries in mathematics and language skills. But they need to learn more from their western counterparts in such aspects as flexibility and abilities requiring the use of hands.
Victor Seddon, Executive Director of the UK Learning and Skills Council and also chairman of the Cambridge Tutors College Educational Trust, said he believed Chinese schools initiative to seek international cooperation symbolizes a cultural change in the Chinese society.
Participants to the forum agreed that cooperation should be on an equal basis and of mutual benefit.
"We must always proceed from the actual conditions of China and can never fully copy foreign experience in developing the Chinese educational market," said Hu Ruiwen, head of Shanghai Educational Science Institute.

(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2005)


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