China-Serbia education seminar focuses on student mobility, internationalization
Representatives from universities in China, Serbia and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe gathered at the “ChinaSerbia Higher Education Seminar and Exhibition” in Serbia on Wednesday in order to discuss ways to promote student mobility and the development of internationalization.
A seminar entitled “Promoting student mobility between Serbia and China with Internationalization Development” and the exhibition Study in China, which included presentations of 35 Chinese universities, were opened at the rectorate of the University of Novi Sad by its rector Dejan Jaksic, Li Chunsheng, deputy secretary general of the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE); Yuan Jigang, head of education at the Chinese embassy in Serbia; and Zoran Milosevic, provincial secretariat for higher education and scientific research for Serbia’s Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.
According to Li, the aim of the event is to connect representatives from Chinese universities with their counterparts from Serbia, as well as Slovakia, Macedonia and Croatia in order to discuss their programs and projects.
Academic cooperation between the two countries has been developing quickly, “today the level of student exchanges and language learning deserves respect. The number of Serbian students in China in 2017 was 446, while 14 Chinese students studied in Serbia,” Li said, adding that Serbia now has two Confucius Institutes and two Confucius classrooms, while four universities in China offer Serbian language majors.
“Moreover, Serbia is a very important member of the 16+1 platform for cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC), which contributes greatly to the development of academic cooperation and exchange in the area of higher education between China and these countries,” he said, noting that since last year the University of Novi Sad has been the home of the headquarters of the Secretariat of the China-CEEC Higher Education Institutions Consortium.
Talking about China’s presence in Serbia, Jaksic hoped “that the next wave will consist of students interested in learning about our culture, history, heritage besides different areas of natural and social sciences.”
“Chinese universities are making progress by various parameters and I am sure that our students have a lot to learn from the Chinese partners,” Jaksic said, noting that the University of Novi Sad has so far signed agreements with 15 Chinese universities.
“In recent years, the University of Novi Sad has invested significant efforts to contribute to the cooperation of Central and Eastern Europe with China in the area of education,” he said.
Jaksic also emphasized that CEAIE had described the university was the best partner to work with, which according to him is a “great honor and a recognition of past work, as well as an obligation to actively advance cooperation in the future.”
Yuan said that the event is sure to promote educational cooperation between China and Serbia, estimating that “cultural and educational exchange are a booster for developing the relations between countries and a lubricant for increasing mutual trust and dispelling doubts.”
He estimated that through the recently-established 16+1 Higher Education Institutions Consortium, “countries can make good use of their complimentary advantages, increase student and scholar exchanges, implement youth exchange programs, establish joint laboratories and centers for regional studies, cooperate in running schools and jointly cultivating high-quality professionals.”
“In the new stage of historical development, we look forward to closer cooperation with Serbia as well as other CEE countries. By strengthening our ties in the field of education, we will contribute to create a new generation of Chinese and Serbian people who have even better understanding of each other,” Yuan concluded.
After the seminar, dozens of interested students and scholars toured the exhibition inquiring about requirements to enroll at Chinese universities and their course of studies.
Two students attend the annual International Education Expo in Beijing on October 24, 2015.