A new research Centre launches today (Tuesday 26 March) aimed at improving links between Europe and Asia on issues relating to education and the social sciences.

The Centre for Research in Education in China and East Asia, which is coordinated by academics in the Department of Education, will explore what the UK and Europe can learn from educational developments across East Asia. It aims to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on education in the region.

This work builds on the already well-established links between the University and international partners in the East - including the recently-signed Memorandum of Understanding with Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

This is helping to deepen collaboration between the two universities, promoting student exchange, research and teaching collaboration. Before the launch event on Tuesday a partnership agreement with Lingnan University will be signed by Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International & Doctoral) Professor Jeremy Bradshaw, paving the way for greater student exchange for our Masters and Doctorate programmes in Education.

The work is also set against a backdrop of a recent joint policy paper from the UK Department of Education and Department for International Trade focused on International Education. This joint approach is reshaping how the UK government positions international education, alongside its vision for ‘global Britain’, as a key element to boosting trade and economic development. However, whilst this policy still retains a strong sense that the UK is simply exporting education products, the new Centre hopes to challenge this so that lessons from the East can be adapted and applied back home too.

Centre Director, Professor of International Higher Education Catherine Montgomery, explained: “Whilst there is a strong interest in this area among policy-makers both in the UK and the East currently, we are keen to ensure the debate about Asian-European partnerships are both two-way and for the long term.

“There is much to be gained through greater interaction and collaboration when it comes to international education and what we can learn from these different perspectives. But too often the debate, from the UK at least, is about exporting our own ideas which has a distinctly colonial feel. Our hope is that the Centre can foster greater two-way and cross-disciplinary working and will help unlock the often untapped potentials in partnership working.”

Professor Andrea Abbas, Head of the Department of Education who is also a key member of the Centre, added: “This research Centre is an important development for the Department of Education and consolidates a longstanding history of research in China and East Asia in the Department. We are looking forward to developing closer dialogues with our partners in the East.”

Professor Jeremy Bradshaw with Professor Leonard K Cheng, Lingnan University

Professor Jeremy Bradshaw at the Partnership Agreement signing with Professor Leonard K Cheng, Lingnan University

Professor Jeremy Bradshaw, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International & Doctoral) who will sign the partnership agreement with Lingnan University on Tuesday said: “Today’s launch of the new Centre for Research in Education in China and East Asia and the signing a new partnership agreement with Lingnan University are important steps as we build our international activities through a newly-approved internationalisation strategy.

“My hope is that the Centre can play a key role both in developing Bath’s own research strengths in this area but also in fostering new and exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary research, including with our international partners in Asia. I wish colleagues every success.”

You can see images from the launch event in our gallery.