On 21st March Nikki Collins, Managing Director of the British International Education Association (BIEA), Mikky Ho, Greater China Chairman and Alex Zhang, Director of International Development, met with Xiaojing Wang, Head of Early Years and English Language and Clair Tan, Senior Trade and Investment Officer of the UK Department of International Trade (DIT) to discuss how to support the development of British education in China especially the development of BIEA projects in that field.

DIT is an UK governmental body that assists British companies to flourish in the global economy and, likewise, supporting overseas companies in investing in the UK economy. The DIT has been actively promoting the development of UK and Chinese companies, especially in the field of education, since setting up offices in the British Consulate in China. At the beginning of 2018 British Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to China reached a 550 million pound British-Chinese educational cooperation project led by the British Department of International Trade, which involved exchanges in vocational education, in early years education and educational technology.

As a not-for-profit educational organisation that promotes British-style international education to countries outside the UK, BIEA has steadily grown from its inception in 2016. Since its establishment it has been working to build a platform for educational dialogue and exchange within the global education system. The main objective is in supporting educational practitioners and investors in implementing international education systems. The main operational focus of BIEA at present is early years education, furthering STEM education internationally and promoting the BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition.

Xiaojing expressed a high appreciation of BIEA’s British educational platform and its overseas development model. She also briefed BIEA on the experience and policy directions of the DIT in promoting exchanges and co-operation between China and the UK in the field of education. She also pointed out that China is placing a high emphasis on the development of early years and STEM education.

Nikki outlined the Early Years League (E-League) project launched by BIEA in China last year is enthusiastically welcomed by early years education institutions and practitioners in China. BIEA EYFS Co-operative E-League Nurseries have now been put into operation in China. Many early years educators have visited the UK for educational experience and instruction. Nikki also outlined BIEA’s work in the STEM field. Along with the STEM League (S-League), which has attracted the attention of many stakeholders in the field of education in China, the BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition has been greeted with enthusiasm from schools, teachers, students and their parents in China. Since the start of the competition in January this year, more than 32 countries and regions have registered to take part. Schools in many cities in China have also organised teams to participate.

Xiaojing mentioned that Geoff Gladding, Head of Education at the DIT UK head office, attended the BIEA STEM Conference and BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition Launch Ceremony in London in January this year and took part in the ribbon-cutting opening ceremony. He not only supported BIEA’s STEM Competition but also attached great importance to BIEA’s overseas efforts in the development of British education. The UK DIT will show support to BIEA in its future implementation and development of British early years and STEM projects in China. DIT will help in spreading the BIEA STEM Competition to its international partners in educational development.

At the end of the meeting Xiaojing stressed that BIEA has abundant British educational resources which is appreciated by the Chinese market. It is hoped that BIEA will seize this opportunity to accelerate the implementation of educational projects in China. The UK DIT will maintain close contact with BIEA and fully supports BIEA in its aims.