On 2 April 2014, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit was invited to attend the annual regional conference organized by education leaders in the Commonwealth countries.
The Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC), is a high profile UK parliament based NGO. It was founded over 50 years ago, during the first 53 Commonwealth Education Ministers’ Conference. Its members are composed of senior education leaders across 53 Commonwealth countries.
The aims of CEC, as described on its website are to:
•provide a forum where Members of Parliament and others with an interest in the Commonwealth can exchange information and views
•initiate action to foster educational cooperation and the sharing of experience among countries and governments of the Commonwealth
•offer to informed and experienced persons from the UK and other Commonwealth countries a platform for the discussion of educational issues and developments
•liaise with the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth High Commissions, and cooperate with government departments in the UK and in the European Union, and with NGOs and professional bodies in the field, for the improvement and development of education throughout the Commonwealth
(Mr.Deodat Maharaj, Deputy Secretary-General, Commonwealth Secretariat gave the keynote speech at the conference, talking about the importance of facilitating more students mobility between 53 different Commonwealth countries.)
Nearly 40 percent of non-EU international students in UK universities are from elsewhere in the Commonwealth. This year’s theme is on “International Student Mobility: Global and Commonwealth Perspectives”. To celebrate Glasgow’s hosting of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2014 CEC Regional Conference was hosted, hosted by The Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change and CRADALL of the University of Glasgow.
More than 100 senior education leaders from around 53 commonwealth countries participated in this high-level conference and discussed a wide range of issues including:
• International and Commonwealth student mobility in global, UK and Scottish contexts;
• Experiences of, and direct/indirect benefits of mobility for students, institutions, and countries;
• National and institutional strategies to attract international students;
• Integrating student and programme mobility.
(Bernd Wächter, Director of The Academic Cooperation Association(ACA), spoke at the conference on some of the latest challenges and opportunities on students mobility around the world. ACA is a Brussels based think tank in the area of international cooperation in higher education, with 24 national organizations in 18 European countries, and associate members in North America, Australia and Mexico)
Some of the key speakers of this high profile conference includes:
Rosemary Preston, Chair CEC
Jim Murdoch, Dean, International, University of Glasgow
Deodat Maharaj, Deputy Secretary-General, Commonwealth Secretariat
Fiona Hyslop MSP and Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs
Bernd Wächter, Chief Executive, Academic Cooperation, Brussels
Lalage Bown, CEC & University of Glasgow
Casmir Chanda, CEC
Lloyd Anderson, Director, British Council, Scotland
Neil Kemp, Visiting Fellow, Institute of Education, University of London
Alan Mackay, Deputy Vice-Principal International, University of Edinburgh
Jim Murdoch, Dean, International, University of Glasgow.
Michele Schweisfurth, School of Education, University of Glasgow
Olanike Adebayo, Author: ‘The Real Deal: The Journey of an International Student in the UK’.
Stephanie Niven, University of Stirling
Alan Mackay, University of Edinburgh
Michael Peak, Education Adviser, British Council, UK
Annabel Boud, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission
Barbara Kehm, University of Glasgow
Kate Walker, British Council, Scotland
Bernd Wächter, The Academic Cooperation Association, Brussels
Nasir Kazmi,Commonwealth Secretariat
Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit was invited to assist as the Rapporteur in one of the afternoon session focus on the “The international student experience” of Commonwealth students who are studying in the UK. In the session, three main questions were discussed:
– How well do we understand the experiences of international students?
– What works well and what not?
– What might be done differently?
As part of the conference, Glasgow University also organized an exhibition about their university where Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, was also invited to participate and better understand the history of this university.
Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit also met Jim Murdoch, Dean, International, University of Glasgow; Bernd Wächter, Director, The Academic Cooperation Association;Lloyd Anderson, Director, British Council, Scotland with a discussion on potential partnership opportunities.