Over December 7th and 8th, Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) hosted over 70 policymakers, university leaders, teachers, researchers, and entrepreneurs from over a dozen countries gathered in Shenzhen for the convening of the “International Institute of Online Education” Consultative Meeting. SUSTech and UNESCO-ICHEI jointly organized the meeting. Mr. Peter Wells, Chief of Section for Higher Education, UNESCO; Mr. Yue DU, Director of Division for Cooperation, Intersectoral Follow-Up, and Partnership of Africa Department, UNESCO; Mr. Qian TANG, Former ADG for Education, UNESCO; Mr. Changwei QIN, Secretary-General of Chinese National Commission for UNESCO; Mr. Jianling XU, Deputy Director of Education Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality; and Mr. Ming LI, Director of International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO-ICHEI) attended the meeting.
UNESCO-ICHEI proposed its international Institute of Online Education (IIOE) initiative with its partner higher education institutions (HEIs) in developing countries in Africa and Asia-Pacific, and its partner enterprises and HEIs in China. It is developed based on the framework of the “Belt and Road” Initiative of talent cultivation and the establishment of mechanisms for cooperative development across countries. The IIOE initiative draws on the Silk Road Spirit of “peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit.” The initiative addresses gender equity, encouraging and supporting more female teachers and students in gaining access to quality higher education opportunities.
SUSTech Associate Vice President and Global Engagement Office (GEO) Associate Director Mr. Thomas Schneider spoke on behalf of SUSTech. He said that, despite being one of the youngest universities in the world, SUSTech had become a rising star in THE Higher Education Ranking. SUSTech is committed to fostering innovative methods to cultivate talents, but it is also actively adopting ICT to promote higher education. SUSTech is willing to join hands with UNESCO-ICHEI and its partners in building such a platform of online educational resources. SUSTech will also provide two full scholarship opportunities to eligible students from each partner HEI of IIOE each year to study at either the undergraduate or postgraduate levels.
Mr. Thomas Schneider, Associate VP and GEO Associate Director of SUSTech
At the meeting, a total of 14 HEIs and eight enterprises signed the “Letter of Intent to Join the IIOE Network.” They also approved the cooperation framework agreements with UNESCO-ICHEI, officially becoming co-initiators of IIOE. The meeting elected Ain Shams University (Egypt) to become the first Rotating Presidency Unit of IIOE for 2020.
Group Photo of Co-initiators and Witnesses of IIOE
The initiative has received seed funding of 10 million CNY from the Tencent Charity Foundation. IIOE will also receive hardware and software from various partner enterprises to support its smooth implementation. Presently, IIOE has integrated approximately 100 online course resources. UNESCO-ICHEI plans to officially launch IIOE in March 2020 during UNESCO Mobile Learning Week. IIOE will help partner universities in developing countries under SDG4 by enhancing their capacity and increasing their opportunities to access quality higher education opportunities.
Translated and Adapted By SUSTech Newshub
Proofread ByXia Yingying