Summary of China-Poland Higher Education Cooperation
Strengthening Cooperation in Higher Education between China and Poland to Boost the Belt and Road Initiative
Strengthening educational exchanges and cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road is an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative, which provides human resources and intellectual support for the Belt and Road Initiative. Located at the crossroad of the Eurasian continent and the intersection of the Amber Road and the Silk Road, Poland enjoys a unique geographical advantage as it lies in the center of the continent, connecting the east and the west. On December 20, 2011, representatives of the Chinese and Polish governments signed a cooperation agreement on higher education in Beijing, opening up a new phase of exchanges and cooperation in higher education between the two countries. According to statistics, by the end of 2020, over 70 Chinese universities and colleges from China-CEEC Higher Education Institutions Consortium, had established cooperative relations with more than 30 Polish universities and research institutions. With the attention and support of the two governments, universities in the two countries have strengthened communication and deepened cooperation. A new pattern of exchanges and cooperation has been formed, such as set up Chinese-foreign cooperation in running schools, teachers' exchange of visits, scientifific research cooperation, students' exchange, joint cultivationn, and the establishment of Confucius Institutes.
History of Cooperation
China and Poland have a long history of exchanges and cooperation in the fifield of education. In 1950, China began to send students to Poland and accepted the fifirst group of nine Polish students to study in China. In 1984, the two countries launched a bilateral educational exchange program, and the number of students exchanged between the two countries gradually increased. In April 2000, high-level representatives of the Ministry of Education of the two countries signed the Agreement on Cooperation 2000-2002 between the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China and the Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Poland in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, which opened a new chapter in bilateral Feducational cooperation. In this context, the visits and exchanges between Chinese and Polish universities have been steadily promoted. A number of Chinese universities and renowned Polish universities have carried out cooperative projects such as Chinese-foreign cooperation in running schools and joint cultivation of talents.
In May 2010, representatives of China and Poland signed the Letter of Intent on Cooperation between the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland in Warsaw, laying the foundation for the new situation of cooperation in higher education between the two countries. In December of the following year, during Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski's visit to China, the Ministers of Education of the two countries signed the Agreement on Cooperation between the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland, which charted the course for China-Poland cooperation in higher education. By taking this as an opportunity, the two countries held the China-Poland University Presidents Forum, which showcased the achievements of cooperation between the two countries and promoted the development of higher education to a wider range of fifields at a higher level. In their visits and exchanges, Chinese and Polish leaders exchanged views on strengthening the mutual recognition of academic credentials and degrees, intercollegiate exchanges and the development of education informatization, which provided strong support for deepening and expanding exchanges and cooperation in higher education between the two countries. In addition, through meetings with representatives of universities, representatives of teachers and students and field visits, senior government officials of the two countries have an in-depth understanding of exchanges and cooperation between the two countries' universities and put forward guiding opinions to promote substantial and effificient cooperation further.
Under the vigorous promotion of the education authorities of the two countries, on March 21, 2017, the China-Poland University Alliance under the Belt and Road Initiative was established. Twelve Polish universities and fififteen Chinese universities joined the alliance to create new platforms and opportunities for multi-tiered, multi-dimensional, and all-around exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and Polish universities. The China Higher Education Exhibition opened at the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland on October 21, 2018. Twenty-fifive universities from China participated in the exhibition, which provided an important channel for Polish universities and students to learn more about Chinese higher education and promote bilateral exchanges and cooperation.
Chinese-foreign Cooperation in Running Schools
Chinese-foreign cooperation in running schools is an important way of Chinese-Polish higher education cooperation. As of April 2021, Chinese and Polish universities had set up 2 non-independent Chinese-foreign cooperation in running schools, 11 Chinese-foreign cooperatively-run undergraduate programs, and 4 Chinese-foreign cooperatively-run special course education (zhuanke) programs. The one of non-independent Chinese-foreign cooperation in running schools is Modern International Art & Design Academy of Chongqing Technology and Business University, a non-independent legal entity jointly established by Chongqing Technology and Business University and University of Social Science and Humanities in Warsaw, Poland, was approved by Chongqing Municipal Education Commission in 2003. The other one is the Institute of International Engineering of Tianjin Chengjian University, a Chinese-foreign cooperatively-run institute with a non-independent legal entity established by Tianjin Chengjian University, Bialystok Technical University, and Cracow University of Technology was approved by the Ministry of Education in 2020. In March 2013, the undergraduate program in Economics jointly launched by Zhengzhou University and University of Lodz was approved by the Ministry of Education, which became the fifirst Chinese-Polish cooperative undergraduate program. Since then, against the backdrop of the Belt and Road Initiative and China's strategy of opening education to the outside world, Chinese-foreign cooperation in running schools of both sides has developed vigorously and achieved remarkable results.
China-Poland cooperation in running schools covers three levels of education from special course education(zhuanke), undergraduate education, to postgraduate education. It includes Economics, Environmental Design, Electronic Information Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Technology, Human Geography and Urban and Rural Planning, Financial Management, Food Science and Engineering, Energy and Power Engineering, etc., covering Economics, Science, Engineering, Management, Art and other disciplines. This is a manifestation of the extensive and in-depth cooperation between the universities of the two countries in the fifield of Chinese-foreign cooperation in running schools.
Academic Exchange and Cooperation in Research
With the increasingly frequent exchanges between Chinese and Polish universities and colleges, various academic exchanges and research cooperation activities have been carried out based on their respective discipline advantages and academic resources. It mainly includes the following aspects: First, universities of the two countries have jointly set up research institutions and joint research teams and carried out long-term research cooperation in relevant fifields. For example, Dezhou University and Gdańsk University of Technology jointly established the Joint Laboratory for Electromechanical Engineering. The lab will build an international research and exchange platform for the electromechanical engineering teachers, researchers and students of the two schools to carry out cooperative research, and jointly promote high-level electromechanical engineering research cooperation and commercialization of research results. Second, researchers from colleges and universities of the two countries have jointly carried out research projects and published academic achievements. For example, researchers from Zhengzhou University and Maria Curie-Skłodowska University applied for one general program funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and jointly published three papers. Third, colleges and universities of the two countries have cooperated in holding international academic conferences to expand and deepen academic exchanges and cooperation. For example, AGH University of Science and Technology and China University of Mining and Technology jointly organized the 7th International Conference on Mining Science and Technology in 2015 and the 4th International Symposium on Coal Mine Dynamic Disasters in 2019. Fourth, colleges and universities of the two countries have carried out mutual visits for teachers to enhance the exchange of teachers through recruitment of foreign professors, short-term lectures and teacher training, so as to enhance the professional and international level of the teaching staff. For example, Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications invited Andrzej Suchocki, distinguished professor of the Chongqing Overseas Talents Program, and head of the Academic Committee of the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, as their distinguished professor. From 2017 to 2019, Wenzhou Medical University sent several groups of teachers to the Medical University of Lublin to give short lectures on acupuncture for rehabilitation and participate in teacher training; a group of ten teachers was sent in 2017, three in 2018,six in 2019.
In addition, to enhance mutual understanding and deepen cooperation, a number of colleges and universities of the two countries have set up specialized research centers on each other. For example, the University of Warsaw established the Center for Modern China in May 2014; Chinese universities such as Sichuan University, Beijing Foregin Studies University, Northeast University, Beijing International Studies University, Ningbo Tecch University, Xi'an International Studies Universityhave set up Polish Research Center.
Student Exchange and Joint Cultivation
In terms of student exchange and joint cultivation, Chinese and Polish universities have established extensive and diverse cooperation modes to create opportunities for students from both countries to study further.
First, cooperation in establishing non-Chinese-foreign cooperatively-run schools and programs is an important way for colleges and universities in both countries to carry out joint cultivation of talents. For example, Ningbo Institute of Technology, Zhejiang University and Bialystok University of Technology co-founded the China-CEE Institute of International Logistics and Service in 2015, aiming to cultivate international, high-level and innovative logistics leaders. Based on the Chinese-foreign cooperatively-run program, Zhengzhou University and University of Lodz launched the "2 + 2" dual degree program in 2015. By the spring semester of 2021, 57 students from Zhengzhou University have gone to University of Lodz through the program and have received or will receive degrees from both partners. Second, medium- and long-term exchange programs of one semester or one academic year, as well as other summer programs with more flflexible arrangements, are also widely carried out among Chinese and Polish universities. For example, from 2017 to 2020, North China Electric Power University cooperated with the Wroclaw University of Science and Technology and sent 10 students to Poland for exchange and study each year. At present, 121 students from Zhengzhou University have gone to Polish universities such as University of Lodz for exchange and study through summer programs. A number of universities in the two countries have also successfully applied for the EU "Erasmus+" scholarship program, which provides financial support for Chinese students to study in Poland. At the same time, Polish students have also attended many Chinese universities, from China University of Political Science and Law in the north to Zhengzhou University in the center and Wenzhou University in the east Polish students can be found in most parts of the country.
Language Teaching and Cultural Exchanges
As early as 1951, the two countries signed the Agreement on Cultural Cooperation between the People's Republic of China and the People's Republic of Poland. Over the past 70 years, China and Poland have signed 25 annual protocols on cultural cooperation, laying a solid legal foundation for cultural exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. People-to people exchanges and cultural communication are important ways of Chinese-Polish higher education cooperation. On the one hand, higher education has provided an important carrier and platform for cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and Poland; on the other hand, cultural exchanges and communication have enriched and expanded the contents and forms of higher education exchanges and cooperation between China and Poland.
Based on higher education, the exchanges and cooperation in the cultural field between the two countries are mainly reflected in three aspects. The first is to set up Chinese and Polish majors in each other. Language is the bridge and medium of communication. Cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and Poland begin with the learning and understanding of each other's languages. Polish teaching in China began in the early 1950s, and the Polish program at Beijing Foreign Studies University is one of the two oldest programs in the university. Since the 1990s, Chinese universities have gradually started the recruitment and training of postgraduate students and doctoral students majoring in Polish. At present, there are 12 colleges and universities offering Polish programs. In recent years, Chinese programs have been offered in Polish universities, and some private language training schools have also offered Chinese courses. Second, cooperate in establishing Confucius Institutes. Since 2006, six Confucius Institutes have been established in cooperation between Chinese and Polish universities with the support of the Center for Language Education and Cooperation. In addition to the Chinese language teaching, the Confucius Institutes organized a variety of cultural activities to enhance Polish people's understanding of Chinese culture, and to strengthen cultural exchanges and communication between the two countries. Third, various forms of cultural exchange activities are carried out. With the support of the Chinese and Polish governments and the promotion of the Belt and Road China-Poland University Alliance, Chinese and Polish universities have organized a number of large-scale cultural and art exchange activities in recent years. For example, the first Belt and Road China-Poland University Alliance Art Festival & Art Design Competition was held in December 2018, and the China-Poland Railway Express-Connectivity Youth Summer Camp was held in July 2019. There are various cultural and art exchanges between universities of the two countries. For example, Polish students learned tea art in China and a delegation of Chinese students attended a music festival in Poland.
To sum up, China and Poland have established extensive and close cooperative relations in the field of higher education. Through Chinese-foreign cooperation in running schools, exchange and joint cultivation of talents, mutual visits of teachers and cooperation in scientifific research, people-to-people exchanges and cultural communication, the universities of the two countries have achieved mutual complementarity in educational concepts, curriculum systems, teaching methods, and strong alliance in superior disciplines and scientifific research resources, as well as cultural exchanges and interconnections. These, in turn, have created conditions for cultivating the students from both countries into internationally competitive talents and injected impetus into the international development of higher education in both countries, and have contributed to the deepening of understanding and friendship between China and Poland.
Under the new background, new connotation, and new structure of the Belt and Road Initiative, China-Poland higher education exchanges and cooperation have ushered in unprecedented opportunities. On the one hand, the mutual political trust and close ties established between China and Poland under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and the demand for international talents in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative have created valuable opportunities for the integration and coordinated development of higher education resources between the two countries. On the other hand, higher education bears the signifificant task of providing intellectual support for economic and social development. The deepening exchanges and cooperation in higher education between the two countries will contribute to talent support to the policy coordination, facility connectivity, unimpeded trade, and fifinancial integration of the Belt and Road Initiative. In the future, under the background of the continuous promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative, China-Poland higher education exchanges and cooperation will develop in a wide-ranging, high-level and in-depth direction and make greater achievements in all fifields.
Source：China-CEEC Higher Education Institutions Consortium