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Mike Gow 高英智
+ Your AuthorsArchive @mikeygow Lecturer (Asst Prof) in Bus Mgt @EHU_Business Consumerism, Citizenship & Identity in Xi Jinping’s China. Father 父亲 Husband 丈夫 Brother 兄弟 Son 儿子 #Everton #Celtic Aug. 16, 2021 3 min read

A #thread in this new list of 286 Sino-Foreign closures published by the #PRC #MoE

#China #highereducation

There’s no link between recent policies on the private tutoring sector.

These are Sino-Foreign institutes and programmes which are licenced to deliver degrees via partnerships within the PRC.

The list of 286 closures is cummulative and lists all programmes which have already closed down.

When a programme is approved, it is given a licence expiry date. All students *must* graduate before this date.

More important is the “last permitted intake” which is calculated as Licence Expiry - Length or program = Last Permitted Intake

So, if a 4yr programme has a licence expiry of 2025, it’s last permitted intake of students is 2021.

The list published last week details 286 programmes and several institutes which have closed down.

It includes all that have been issued licences between 1997-present which have now closed down.

All of these have been orderly closures

The article cites Masters programme by NYU in partnership with ECNU.

Firstly, these are nothing to do with NYU Shanghai which is a separate licenced joint venture running multiple UG majors and issuing two degrees to its graduates: NYU Shanghai (China) and NYU (US) degrees

The MoE database of Sino-Foreign programmes clearly shows these as separate licences : NYU Shanghai with 4 other masters programmes “closed down” 已停办

Those programmes were for single NYU Masters degrees to be delivered in partnership with ECNU on their main campus in Shanghai. Not at NYU Shanghai.

Licences we’re granted in 2012 for 2yr Masters degrees with recruitment permitted in 2013/2014/2015

As far as I’m aware, these programmes never recruited any students, and licences were not renewed. Possibly due to the shifting focus and priorities with NYU Shanghai.

They were added to list in 2018, when 234 shuttered Sino-Foreign programmes were listed

As of 2021, that figure now stands at 286

This is around 20% of all programmes licenced for 4yr UG and above since 1997 (temporary regs) and since the MoE regulated Sino-foreign HE in 2003

The overwhelming majority of closures listed are programmes that were set up pre-2003, with many in Heilongjiang with Russian universities. Most - if not all - have either closed down due to never actively recruiting students, or have gone through an orderly closure process.

There is no indication that PRC MoE is targeting Sino-Foreign. This is already an extremely and strictly regulated sub-sector of China’s formal education sector.

However, a significant amount of foreign university activity in the PRC - especially in relation to student recruitment - exists outside the formal HE sector and is often very closely intertwined with the for-profit tutoring sector

This includes private tutoring firms provoking “study overseas” education consulting, and the for-profit spin-out companies of public sector universities which have recently been the target of regulation and transfer to private ownership.

So while this list is simply a record of all Sino-Foreign programmes which have lapsed/closed/mothballed - universities need to conduct risk assessments with their other recruitment and pathway channels.

Many of these pathway channels look like they are established with public sector universities. But many are not. They are actually for-profit private tutoring firms owned by public sector unis which carry the branding of those unis.

While foreign uni recruiters are under the impression they are recruiting students from reputable Chinese unis, those students are never enrolled at those PRC unis.

It’s a similar story with foundation and pathway partnership: they think they’re partnered with a uni, when in reality they’re not.

The partner is a company operating on the university campus, but is not part of the university itself.

There are three flags for unis to check :

If the name of the partner in China is “XXXX University International College” or something similar it’s a a potentially bad sign

If fees charged to students for a foundation/pathway are very high (¥30k+) it’s a very bad sign.

But the major flag is entry requirements

If PRC students are recruited via the Gaokao system - then ok. But if entrance requirements stipulate “60% on the Gaokao or take our entrance examination” then run a mile.


You can follow @mikeygow.



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