As part of its mission in China, BIEA was invited to the Soong Ching Ling Foundation in Beijing, a pioneering charity with a focus on children’s welfare and development in China. BIEA President Gareth Bullock and his team were given a warm welcome by the Foundation’s Chairman Qun Yu and he was treated to a tour of the impressive centre. The centre is flooded with natural light and open spaces and there are four themes in the centre: “Engage”, “Enlighten”, “Create” and “Inspire” These are to support the cultural development of young children who come to the centre for educational training and a recreational experience.

In the subsequent meeting with Chairman Yu, the two sides had discussions on strengthening the friendship and the promoting of educational exchanges between China and the UK. Gareth expressed great admiration for the founder, Ms. Soong Ching Ling, as a woman of great determination, as an advocate for democracy and a champion of education. He also praised the extensive charitable work the foundation has been doing in supporting the future generations in China.

Gareth and Chairman Yu discussed BIEA’s International STEM Youth Innovation Competition. Originating in the UK, the competition is designed to cultivate the technological skill of the young people and to encourage them to consider these concerning global issues as well as providing a platform for them to connect with each other.

Chairman Yu said that the Foundation also held a science competition for teenagers and children in China involving many local primary and secondary schools. He welcomed co-operation between the two organisations and invited the BIEA STEM Competition to be held in China. Both competitions are complimentary to each other and offer greater opportunities for young people on an international level.

Chairman Yu said he would be delighted to come to London in July this year to watch the final of BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition and to cheer on the China team.

The two sides also discussed the current situation and development of early years education in the UK and China. Gareth said that the Early Years Foundation System (EYFS) is one of the world’s leading frameworks relating to early years education. The BIEA Early Years League (E-League) project, with EYFS at its core, has been welcomed by Chinese early years practitioners since its launch in China last year. A large number of practitioners and nurseries have benefited from the expertise of the BIEA E-League team in helping them to understand the EYFS framework and supporting them in its implementation.

Chairman Yu also commented that early years education in China is at a critical stage of development and innovation. The Soong Ching Ling Foundation is a pioneer in early years education in China and is actively developing resources and concepts from the international arena to support Chinese early years educational provision.

Lastly, the two sides agreed that education is one of the most important areas in which China and the UK can build a long-lasting relationship. With a common aim of providing the best opportunities for future generations, this meeting could be the beginning of in-depth cooperation.

In attendance:
Chen Aimin, Director of International Cooperation and Exchange.
Wang Jiajia, Director of the International Department, Director of Soong Ching Ling Youth Science, Technology and Culture Exchange Centre.
Guo Xinbao, Vice Director of Soong Ching Ling Youth Science, Technology and Culture Exchange Centre.
Wang Bei, Director of the Foundation and Chairwoman of Aijia Group.
Nikki Collins, BIEA Board Secretary General and CEO.
Alex Zhang, BIEA International Development Director.