North Campus, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, September 23rd, 2021: Matt Burney, Minister from the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy, and his delegation paid a visit to GDUFS’s north campus. They were warmly greeted by SHI Youqi, President of GDUFS, at the VIP Guest Room of the Executive Building. The two sides discussed cooperation in higher education, IELTS, teacher training and communication in English education.
Talk between two parties
SHI warmly welcomed the visit and expressed his will that this meeting could enhance exchange between the two parties and take their cooperation to a new stage. He gave a detailed introduction of GDUFS, explaining that it is a major internationalized university committed to cultivating high-quality talents with international vision and a strong sense of social responsibility. GDUFS has programs in 28 foreign languages and 7 Overseas Confucius Institutes (classrooms). It has established cooperative relationships with 481 universities and institutions in 60 countries and regions. He pointed out that the Test Center of GDUFS has held the IELTS since 2012 and has been awarded the title of “Best IELTS Test Centre in South China” by the British Council. In a bid to cope with the impact of COVID-19, GDUFS set up an IELTS computer test site on the south campus in 2020, and is planning to set up an international IELTS test site in the Knowledge City campus in 2023. Also, SHI reviewed former incidents of cooperation and exchanges between GDUFS and universities in Britain. He expressed that, since GDUFS signed a cooperation framework agreement with the British Consulate in 2015, the two sides have jointly carried out a number of international teacher training programs. In addition, GDUFS continues to send students to Oxford University, Cambridge University and other well-known universities in the UK for further study. He stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped the pace of friendly cooperation between GDUFS and British universities, and the cooperation between the two sides has still achieved good results. Looking ahead to the post-pandemic era, the cooperation between China and the UK in higher education enjoys broad prospects and the two countries are willing to deepen this cooperation and promote the development of China-UK friendly relations.
Matt Burney praised the achievements of GDUFS. Also, he agreed that the pandemic has brought challenges to higher education. However, China and the UK have worked together to come up with effective coping strategies. Online technology has been utilized to fill the gap in offline exchanges, and academic and research cooperation has steadily been pushed forward, too. In the meantime, he fully recognized the contribution of the IELTS test site in GDUFS, especially on the basis of strict prevention and control of the pandemic. This played a prominent role in promoting the internationalization of education between China and the UK through its careful arrangement and orderly execution of IELTS test. He hoped to have in-depth discussions with GDUFS to innovate the university’s English teaching, strengthen teacher training, and continue to deepen cooperation and enhance mutual friendship in the future.
Relevant officials from the Office of International Cooperation and Exchange, the School of English Education, as well as the Testing Center attached to Guangdong University of Foreign Studies attended the meeting.