China’s Ministry of Education recently approved the termination of more than 200 Sino-foreign cooperative education programs and jointly managed institutions in what the ministry framed as a move to improve quality and regulatory control. The program closures span a wide range of fields, including business, computer science, education, engineering and health care-related fields, and at least for the most part do not appear to be directly related to ideological imperatives on the part of the Chinese government.
Slightly more than two dozen partnerships involving U.S. universities are included in the list of cooperative programs that have been formally terminated, which is published on the ministry’s website in Chinese. A total of 229 cooperative undergraduate or master’s programs were terminated, plus an additional five jointly managed Sino-foreign educational institutes. The largest number of terminated cooperative programs involved universities in the United Kingdom, followed by Australia, Russia and then the U.S.
As of June there were about 1,090 active Chinese-foreign cooperative institutions and projects at the undergraduate level and above, according to China's Ministry of Education.
The ministry described the recent terminations as "an important achievement in the recent improvement and innovation of regulatory methods in Chinese-foreign cooperation in academic administration" and as a move to "replace the old with the new, optimized, and upgraded."
“In recent years, there has been significant development in Chinese-foreign cooperation in academic administration, which has been effective in promoting reforms in educational systems and mechanisms, making innovations in training models, and serving major state strategies, in turn continuously increasing social approval for and international influence of such cooperation,” the ministry said
in a July 4 statement about the terminations (translated from Chinese). “While development has accelerated, problems have appeared in certain institutions and projects, such as insufficient introduction of excellent educational resources, low instructional quality, weak specialized capabilities in academic departments, and lack of content-based development mechanisms. The problems have led to low student satisfaction and poor attractiveness of programs, making it difficult for academic administration to continue.”