In the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, international education will transform, said Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University’s Professor Stuart Perrin at a virtual conference this month organised by the Centre for China and Globalisation.
“International education faces fundamental change, but it’s not going to disappear,” said Professor Perrin, associate principal of XJTLU’s Entrepreneur College (Taicang), in concert with other panelists.
Chaired by CCG president Dr Henry Huiyao Wang, and drawing a live audience of nearly 1 million, the webinar touched upon the interests and concerns of millions of students, parents, school administrators, education experts and practitioners at home and abroad. Invited panelists were 10 international educational leaders from Australia, the USA, China and the UK, including Jeffrey Lehman, Vice Chancellor, NYU Shanghai; Dr Lan Xue, Dean, Schwartzman College, Tsinghua University; Professor Nick Miles, Provost and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham Ningbo; and Professor Wei Shen, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor, Deakin University, Australia.
Degree programs based the latest knowledge and the development of industry-focussed education development – promoted by XJTLU’s Syntegrative Education model and Entrepreneur College – are examples of changes that can help society after the crisis, said Professor Perrin.
“Degrees need to be up-to-date, because the people who are studying now are the people who will be taking the countries and economies forward from where we are at the moment.
“We at XJTLU believe that there will be a focus on entrepreneurial education, flexible skills and a global mindset. And that will lead how the world deals with the current crisis.”
Professor Perrin stated that joint venture universities such as XJTLU can play a special role for international education in times of uncertainty.
“Joint venture universities provide almost, but not quite, what you might get if you travelled to another country, but within the safety of the known.
“At the moment, people want to have the known, the comfort, as well as the international experience. Joint venture universities can provide that safe haven in many respects.”
Professor Perrin noted that universities’ current dive into online education will also impact the future of education. He suggested that international education would increasingly use hybrid education models that include the strengths of both online and onsite education.
“Clearly education and international education is going to have to think and re-think, ‘How does virtual education fit into the framework? What will be the role of artificial intelligence?‘” he said.
Professor Perrin challenged the audience of the virtual conference, titled “How will COVID-19 Change the Landscape of International Education,” to enable international education to continue its positive impact.
“One of the most common sayings I hear is that the coronavirus knows no borders. l I think international education knows no border either,” he said.
“We shouldn’t let COVID-19 be the barrier to growth, development, and continued progress of international education in these current times.”
By the XJTLU Entreprenuer College (Taicang) and Tamara Kaup