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Initiative to boost ties in education with France

By Zhao Yimeng | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-24 09:25

China has launched an initiative to attract more French students and young people to study and exchange programs, aiming to deepen educational cooperation with France.

The initiative was announced during the Sino-French Education Development Forum held in Paris on Friday. It follows President Xi Jinping's pledge in May to increase the number of French students studying in China to over 10,000 and double the scale of European youth exchanges within the next three years.

Vivien Deroche, a student at Ecole Centrale de Lyon who applied for a place in a master's degree program in environmental engineering at Tsinghua University, will be one of the first 16 students to come to China under the initiative.

"I believe that students from the two countries can learn a lot from each other," the 22-year-old said. "This study program will allow me to enhance my skills and maintain an open-minded perspective on the world, particularly on environmental issues where international cooperation is crucial."

Before departing for China in a few days, Deroche said he is excited about meeting new people and discovering a rich culture.

"China is a country with a millennia-old history and rapid development, which I will begin to explore over the next two years," he said.

Education Minister Huai Jinpeng said China is committed to expanding high-quality exchanges with young Europeans. This includes supporting joint summer schools between Chinese and European universities, sharing course resources and increasing opportunities for young people from France and Europe to learn Chinese.

The initiative also emphasizes collaboration on projects addressing shared concerns such as digital education, environmental sustainability and developing vocational skills.

"We are willing to work with educational authorities in France and other European countries to advance high-quality exchanges among young people," Huai said at the opening of the forum.

Calls were also made at the event for stronger Sino-French collaboration in fundamental scientific research. Peking University President Gong Qihuang highlighted the importance of fostering talent and uncovering scientific breakthroughs during a parallel session.

Universities from both nations signed several agreements during the forum, covering areas such as engineering training, nuclear energy research and social sciences. Additionally, a commemorative album celebrating 60 years of Sino-French student exchanges was presented to guests.

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