The STEM Conference and the International STEM Youth Innovation Competition launch, both held in London by BIEA in January 2019, were received with much enthusiasm by the industry. Just prior to this, in November 2018, the BIEA Early Years League (E-League) project was launched in China and it has generated a great deal of interest from the pre-school educational sector in that country. BIEA UK Head Office has received many requests from Chinese schools and institutions for collaboration with them in STEM education and early years education. In response to this demand, the BIEA President, Gareth Bullock, led a team to visit China on 18th March 2019 to consult with relevant parties. He and the team met leaders from the China International Cultural Exchange Centre, the Soong Ching Ling Foundation, China Association for International Educational Exchange and other leading cultural and educational institutions during the five-day trip. Topics for discussion focused on international educational exchanges between the UK and China; particularly concerning STEM and Early Years education (EYFS). Further meetings will take place with representatives from the British Council, the DIT and other British organisations represented in China to explore ways to support cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries and also to promote BIEA projects in China. Nikki Collins, managing director of BIEA, Mikky Ho, BIEA Chairman in China, and Alex Zhang, the Director of International Development are all part of the executive team.

On 18th March, Gareth and the team met with the British Council in Beijing to exchange views on the development of British education in China. Jazreel Goh, British Council Director of Education and Sports in China and Medy Wang, the Director of Schools, also attended the meeting. The British Council fully supports the two business platforms of the BIEA, EYFS and STEM, in China. Jazreel appraised the BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition and invited BIEA to participate in future activities of the British Council and in its future events in China.

As an international institution providing educational opportunities and promoting cultural exchanges, the British Council’s remit covers arts, culture and education as well as English language and social development. Its clients include cultural enterprises, educational institutions, student bodies and other groups. Gareth, President of BIEA, was also on the board of British Council in the UK before stepping down in November last year. During his six-year term of office (2012-2018), Gareth, with his experience in the financial field, ensured the stable development of the British Council’s business objectives. He has also advised on the effective formulation of the Association’s business strategy. Gareth took up the presidency of the British International Association for Education (BIEA) once he had left the British Council. Today’s visit is an opportunity to renew an old friendship.

As a non-profit educational organisation promoting British-style international education to countries outside the UK, the British International Education Association has steadily grown from its inception in 2016. Since its establishment it has been working hard to build a platform for direct dialogue, exchange and learning within the global education system. The main objective is to support educational practitioners, operators and investors in implementing international education systems. The main operational focus of BIEA is early years education, and in furthering both STEM education and the BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition.

The Early Years League of the BIEA was launched towards the end of last year. The response has been overwhelming as we have received applications from many early years educators. A number of them have come, or plan to come, to the UK to extend their professional studies. Gareth also introduced the first STEM Conference held by BIEA in London at the beginning of this year, which was supported by the British Council, the DIT and many other STEM organisations. Since its official launch, more than 200 schools from 32 countries and regions have signed up to the competition including a number of schools in China. BIEA has plans to support STEM education in China so that Chinese students and teachers can benefit from the STEM education system developed in the UK.

In commenting on the current education market in China, Jazreel supported BIEA’s model of developing British-style International Education in China and shared with Gareth and the team her experience at British Council in promoting educational and cultural exchanges between the UK and China. Jazreel believes that the British Council and BIEA share a common goal of developing quality British education overseas. Jazreel invited BIEA to participate in the future activities and events with the British Council in China.

With a common vision, BIEA and the British Council believe that with mutual support and a joint effort, we could enable more overseas educators, business institutions, students and parents to benefit from high-quality educational resources available in the UK.