China and Israel Step Up Collaboration in Education
   2012-05-08 09:14:30    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: haipeng

Visiting delegates from the Israeli Council for Higher Education (CHE) hold a press conference at the Israeli embassy in Beijing on Monday, May 7, 2012, to exchange views on education and announce Israel's scholarship programs for Chinese students. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

By Fu Yu

Visiting delegates from the Israeli Council for Higher Education (CHE) held a press conference at the Israeli embassy in Beijing on Monday to announce Israel's scholarship programs for Chinese students.

Israel's higher education services have enjoyed worldwide fame, with 66 institutes and about 293,000 students studying for academic degrees. According to Professor Manuel Trajtenberg, Director-General of the Council for Higher Education and the Planning and Budgeting Committee in Israel, the word which best sums up their success is "competitiveness".

"The background is a very, very long tradition of learning, as the Chinese people have as well, a very long tradition of putting a lot of emphasis on reaching the highest level of learning. There is a very strong competition all the time. So If I have one recommendation, it's to encourage competition, and encourage, all the time, the expansion of this in communities to which Chinese scholars are part of, to include the best in the world. Your point of reference always has to be the best in your field, not the best in your country, not the best in your university."

An agreement has already been established between the Israel Science Foundation and the Natural Science Foundation of China, after a tour of seven Chinese universities in 2007, when the Israeli delegation recognized the potential for collaboration with these universities.

Professor Benjamin Geiger, Chairman of the Israeli Science Foundation, who led the tour, explains that after much discussion, they have agreed to launch a joint project between the two foundations. They are hoping to bring young researchers from both sides together and establish connections between them.

The council thinks highly of education in China and is welcoming Chinese students and scholars with open arms.
 
Currently, the exchange subjects between China and Israel include engineering and the natural sciences; subjects which the councils believe to be of most interest to Chinese students, especially as Israel is one of the world's leading authorities within those fields. But they are also looking to introduce other major subjects. Professor Trajtenberg explains.

"Essentially we want to open our universities to Chinese students for all fields according to their interests. We thought that they would find more interest in those fields. But clearly, if there is interest in humanities and in social sciences, we're very happy to open them up also to Chinese students."

Of the four Israeli delegates who attended the press conference, two were from the Ministry of Finance, representing the government's strong commitment to allocating funds towards education.
 
Professor Trajtenberg stated that Israel has set up special programs offering scholarships to Chinese students, as part of their "five-year plan" for education which aims to increase the budget and develop new initiatives.

"Within that context, the context of increasing our strategic links with China in this area, we have essentially drawn a plan, an initial plan that consists of three elements. One is bringing to Israel and giving scholarships to post-doctorate young researchers; the second is bring to Israel Chinese students to study undergraduate programs and master's programs; and the third is a collaboration in research."

The Science Foundation in Israel expects greater levels of collaboration between itself and China, and is hopeful that the current ties that have been established will spark more ideas and exchanges in the near future.

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