The Fourth Scientific and Technological Revolution and the emerging technologies it has brought forth are reshaping every aspect of human life, including that of education. China’s education system is at the crossroads of deepening, comprehensive reform, while education systems around the world have adopted “reshaping” and “fundamental reform” as their core missions.

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University has taken as its core mission to research education models that meet the needs of future society and to self-explore how to best impact the education transformation and reform in China and beyond. For the past 15 years, XJTLU has relied on its well-established Institute of Leadership & Education Advanced Development (ILEAD), Education Development Unit (EDU), and Department of Educational Studies (EDS), and recently, the Learning Mall, to drive the growth of future education. These institutions have now been integrated and upgraded into an Academy of Future Education, in time to celebrate the University’s 15th anniversary, to better support XJTLU’s exploration and practice in “future-oriented” education, while influencing wide-ranging educational reform and innovation. In 2021, Academy of Future Education will be further integrated and upgraded, with four departments: The Institute of Leadership and Education Advanced Development, the Educational Development Unit, Department of educational studies, and the Learning Institute for Future Excellence, which aims to support the lifelong learning of all students.

XJTLU advocates as its goals the healthy growth of students and promoting innovation in the education system to focus on comprehensive student development. All innovation and systemic re-tooling with regards to education needs to focus on the future and support lifelong learners in adapting to an information-rich, digitally connected age. Since the founding of the University in 2006, XJTLU has taken the role as a visionary leader to construct an ecosystem that is “future-oriented” and promotes sustainable innovation.

This educational philosophy and the successful practices of XJTLU have encouraged stakeholders in adopting this new paradigm of higher education innovation. As a result, millions of educational practitioners across thousands of higher education institutions – including learners, their parents, educators, government agencies, non-profit organisations, industrial community, educational institutions, and affiliated schools – have in their own way taken part in the growing wave of educational innovation. They have combined forces to contribute to the development of a stronger education ecosystem, and in doing so dedicate to symbiosis, win-win solutions, and collective creativity to add ever increasing values and meanings to future-oriented education, led at the forefront by XJTLU.

Our stakeholders have developed remarkable new educational philosophies, forming organisational strategies for continuous development, in time evolving their educational systems. We have seen in external educational practitioners great enthusiasm and confidence in this continuing transformation of educational practices. As a result, ever-growing numbers of students and parents have chosen to join XJTLU and grow with the university to create a brighter future. Many pioneering experiences and philosophies of XJTLU have been synthesised as part of new educational policies. In this way, XJTLU has promoted and continues to promote the transformation of higher education in China and beyond.

XJTLU establishes a future-oriented education ecosystem through four actions:

Firstly, it forges several core products that can lead to innovation, including training programmes, student-centred educational models, educational systems, etc. These products, which form the core component of XJTLU’s innovation platform, systematically transform the ideology of XJTLU leading to demonstrable practices for potential replication by stakeholders. At the same time, these programmes respond to focal issues of education reform by providing feasible solutions. Over the past 15 years, XJTLU has launched following core products:

  • Research-led learning and teaching frameworks
  • Student-centred educational systems
  • University-industry syntegrative & collaborative education
  • Practice and industry oriented curriculum
  • Internationalised elementary education system.

The second is to create a culture of communication, sharing and innovation, through the creation of a platform to guide education co-creation and to spread the XJTLU education philosophy throughout the country. We have created several highly influential innovation platforms:

  • XJTLU National University Teaching Innovation Award to promote and recognise teaching innovation
  • Association of Sustainable Teacher Development in Universities, a platform for colleges and universities to support teachers’ development
  • ILEAD talks that provide localised innovation community landing in different cities.

At present, over 50,000 users interacting on these platforms every month. To enhance this further, we are making efforts to build a Learning Mall that supports online and onsite hybrid teaching, as well as a new education innovation platform in the Greater Bay Area.

Third is to enable and empower educational practitioners to more fully adopt innovative educational concepts. We have developed a wide variety of training programmes at multiple organisational levels and levels of education, from senior leaders to front-line staff, including student parents and guardians. Tens of thousands of educators from hundreds of educational institutions participate in these training programmes each year.

Our fourth initiative involves the nurturing of future leaders of continuous innovation in future education through developing masters- and PhD-level degree programmes. We have successfully developed two masters programmes, MA Global Education, and MA Child Development and Family Education, and a PhD programme in Education. In the near future, we will establish additional degree programmes focusing on Digital Education, and are also working an Education Doctorate (EdD) programme.

While looking forward to the future, we also must never forget the roots of our endeavours; we will continue to expand and strengthen the education ecosystem to fulfil our mission of impacting the education transformation and reform in China and beyond.

To learn more: Institute of Leadership and Educational Advanced Development (ILEAD), Department of Educational Studies (DES), and Educational Development Unit (EDU), the Learning Institude for Future Excellence.