On 19th March, Gareth Bullock, President of the British International Education Association (BIEA) and his colleagues were warmly received by Mr Honghai Xu, Secretary-General of the China International Cultural Exchange Centre (CICEC) and Mr Wunan Xiao, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (APECF).

The focus of the meeting was in facilitating cultural exchanges as well as the development of international education between the UK and China.

The host, the CICEC, has been established for 35 years and is the leading non-profit organisation in China engaged in forging international cultural links. With exchange visits from the British and Chinese political leaders in the recent years, exchanges and co-operation in the field of education between the two countries is anticipated to reach a new mutually beneficial era.

Mr Wunan Xiao, Vice Chairman of the APECF, gave an outline of the aims of the Foundation. The Foundation was set up by a combination of politicians, scholars and activists allied with international enterprises and research institutes in the Asia-Pacific region. The organisation prides itself in building inter-governmental co-operation in that region. Chairman Xiao stated that the Foundation would be glad to contribute positively to the cultural and educational exchanges between the UK and China.

As a non-profit educational organisation that promotes British-style international education to countries outside the UK. BIEA has, since its establishment, been working continuously to build a platform for direct dialogue and exchanges within the international educational system. The main operational interests of the Association are early years and STEM education as well as the BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition at present.

Gareth spoke of the unexpected popularity of BIEA’s Early Years League (E-League) programme in China. Launched in late November 2018, the E- League project has been welcomed with enthusiasm by early years providers in China. At the beginning of this year, BIEA held its first STEM Conference in London, which had a very positive reception, at the same time as the BIEA 2019 International STEM Youth Innovation Competition was launched. In just two months, schools from more than 32 countries and regions, representing all continents, signed up to take part. BIEA STEM League (S-League) has also attracted the attention of institutions, enterprises and teachers in China. It is the aim of BIEA’s STEM Centre that young Chinese students and their teachers should benefit from the comprehensive UK STEM educational system.

Secretary-General Xu believes that the British STEM system had started earlier than in China and will provide a reference and learning experience for China’s education institutions in the future. As China and the UK are keen to strengthen exchanges and co-operation in the field of STEM education, there is an opportunity for mutual benefits and friendship between the two countries in an enhancement of the desire of China’s young people to be involved in technological innovation.

Chairman Xiao mentioned that there is an international trend to introduce advanced science, technological and innovation concepts to young people. This trend enhances and encourages those concepts in Chinese youth. He mentioned that APECF has extensive experience in coordinating such international projects.

After the meeting the three parties signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation at the International Youth Science and Technology Centre in China.

The project of the International Youth Science Innovation Centre consists of the BIEA International Youth STEM Innovation Competition and an International STEM Youth Innovation Platform, the purpose of which is discovering, training and the recruitment of world-class innovative young talents in science and technology. The project is committed to improving young people’s STEM education at an international level and so cultivating, discovering and incubating STEM projects and talents.

Making full use of BIEA’s comprehensive STEM educational resources and projects the International Youth Science and Technology Creation Centre is aiming to become an important part of China’s and the world’s youth talent developmental plans.

After the signing of the contract, CICEC and BIEA exchanged gifts signalling the start of a new collaborative relationship.