International Educator - May/June 2019 - 28

China is an outsized economic player on the
continent, with large economic investments
including extraction and infrastructure
projects. A combination of private Chinese
investments, along with government loans
and aid-now in the range of tens of billions
of dollars-support African infrastructure
development, agriculture, transportation,
public health efforts, finance and banking,
and more, says Gu at WES.
Education in China, or language and
cultural experiences through Chinese
efforts on the African continent, may
also provide greater opportunity for
African students to land a commodity
that may be even more competitive than
a university education: a posteducation
job. While Chinese infrastructure projects
across Africa often feature work teams
of imported Chinese laborers, fluency in
Mandarin and experience with Chinese
practices could help Africans land jobs
on Chinese infrastructure projects or as
contractors servicing the same, King notes.
Though many of China's higher
education arrangements in Africa reflect
government-to-government partnerships
between China and specific African
countries, they also foster relationships
between individual institutions, says
Gu. In 2009, the Chinese Ministry
of Education launched the 20+20
Cooperation Plan, fostering one-to-one
partnerships between 20 Chinese and 20
African higher education institutions in
17 African countries, with a particular
focus on promoting capacity building and
sustainable development in Africa.
The most recent batch of Chinese
universities selected for the project includes
several prestigious institutions, 10 of which
are designated by China as key research
institutions-including Peking University,
Jilin University, East China Normal
University, and others. Some Chinese
universities have since initiated African
institutes, centers, or study programs.
"My home institute, Jinan University
in China, has developed quite close
28  

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR M AY + J U N.2019

partnerships with the African host
universities of Confucius Institutes," says Ma
at University of Cape Town, who previously
served as joint director of the Confucius
Institute at Rhodes University in South
Africa. "The academic exchanges go well
beyond merely language and culture. It also
involves many other academic disciplines.
We held China Week programs that formed
as a bridge to link academics between
Chinese and South African universities."
China sees a variety of benefits from its
African investments, Gu notes. As a form
of soft power influence in these regions,
their investments are part of a general
effort to increase Chinese geopolitical
influence and safeguard China's interest
in Africa's natural resources. African
initiatives originating from Chinese
institutions diversify student experiences
and expose them to different cultures at a
time when China is rapidly expanding its
role on the international stage.

An Alternative Model for African
Higher Education
The results of African efforts to replicate
Western higher education models, while
simultaneously increasing capacity, have
been decidedly mixed. And given the
African youth bulge, the urgency to evolve
is mounting.
Conversely, China has demonstrated
extraordinary progress in developing its
higher education sector that has largely
been self-directed, managing to rapidly
increase both the quantity and quality of
its institutions, notes Cloete.
He says that the ability of Chinese
institutions to distinguish themselves based
on different teaching and research aims has
been particularly impressive. A deliberate
attempt to increase the diversity and
robustness of Chinese education through
centrally planned and executed models
for different types of institutions has been
successful. At the African institutions,
conversely, the dominant model has
largely involved replicating flagship state

institutions, resulting in additional schools
with similar strengths and weaknesses.
Still, some experts are dubious that
much of the Chinese higher education
model can be seamlessly imported to
Africa. Missing in Africa, Cloete says,
is the relative homogeneity of China's
population and the people's experience
with and receptivity to strong national
government and centralized planning. After
all, China is one of the original developers
of effective, large-scale bureaucracies
through its Mandarin system of imperial
bureaucratic scholars. Across Africa-and
indeed within specific African countries-
there exists a vastly greater linguistic,
ethnic, and religious diversity.

Limitations-and Possible
Strings Attached
There may be a ceiling to the China-Africa
higher education relationship. At present, it
is decidedly asymmetrical. As with Western
institutional partners, few Chinese students
study in African universities, according
to UNESCO data, though this in part
reflects the tremendous shortage of higher
education slots that many African countries
would prefer go to Africans.
That could change in some African
countries, given plans under China's
Belt and Road Initiative to send Chinese
students to countries involved in its
massive infrastructure strategy. However,
only a handful of African countries-
Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Senegal, South
Africa, and Tunisia-are slated to be
included in the project, King says.
And while the model plays out well
for the areas of science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
and hard sciences, there may be limitations
for social sciences, as well as for Western
norms of free thought and inquiry, some
say. China, including its higher education
system, limits permissible topics of
discussion in many forms, including
censoring the ability of Chinese students
and scholars to access the internet.



International Educator - May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - May/June 2019

From the Desk of
In Brief
Global Spotlight: Iran
Quick Questions
Feature: Africa’s Education Evolution
Feature: Mental Health: At Home and Abroad
Feature: The Faces of International Education
Education Abroad
International Student Affairs
International Enrollment Management
International Education Leadership
Forum
Take 5
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Cover1
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Cover2
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 1
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 2
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 3
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 4
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 5
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 6
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 7
International Educator - May/June 2019 - From the Desk of
International Educator - May/June 2019 - In Brief
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 10
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 11
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 12
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 13
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 14
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Global Spotlight: Iran
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Quick Questions
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 17
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 18
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 19
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Feature: Africa’s Education Evolution
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 21
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 22
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 23
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 24
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 25
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 26
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 27
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 28
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 29
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 30
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 31
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 32
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 33
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 34
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 35
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Feature: Mental Health: At Home and Abroad
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 37
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 38
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 39
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 40
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 41
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 42
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 43
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 44
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Feature: The Faces of International Education
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 46
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 47
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 48
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 49
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Education Abroad
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 51
International Educator - May/June 2019 - International Student Affairs
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 53
International Educator - May/June 2019 - International Enrollment Management
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 55
International Educator - May/June 2019 - International Education Leadership
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 57
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 58
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 59
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Forum
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 61
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 62
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 63
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Take 5
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Cover3
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Cover4
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