The Haifeng campus of Lingshui Li'an International Education Innovation Pilot Zone in south China's Hainan Province officially opened on Monday, aiming to establish itself as an alternative destination for students who want to study abroad.
This marks Hainan's significant progress in opening up its education sector.
The first group of 86 students from two Sino-foreign cooperative education projects has started the International Talent Program in the pilot zone, the only key industrial park focusing on international education in Hainan free trade port.
He Ye, a post-graduate student from Beijing Sport University, is one of the students who study here. She had planned to continue her study abroad after finishing university education in the United States, but changed her mind after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as she felt it was safer to study in China.
"Thanks to the Sino-foreign cooperative education project in Hainan, I can receive international education without going abroad," she said.
The cooperative education project is run by Beijing Sport University and the University of Alberta in Canada. Four foreign teachers from Alberta are expected to arrive in Hainan before November, said Meng Xiang, a teacher with Beijing Sport University.
"Hainan's excellent environment and open education policy provide opportunities for our university to develop sports rehabilitation, leisure health, sports tourism and other professional fields," said Meng.
The Chinese government supports Hainan to build itself into a free trade port and education opening up is an indispensable part.
In June 2019, The Ministry of Education and Hainan's provincial government jointly issued a plan, supporting Hainan to develop international-oriented education, and to set a new benchmark for education opening-up in the new era, granting Hainan a series of unique pilot policies.
Covering 12.72 square km, Lingshui Li'an International Education Innovation Pilot Zone started construction in September last year, and the main campus is under construction and expected to be put into use next year.
So far, 20 renowned colleges and universities from home and abroad have settled in the pilot zone, including Coventry University and University of Glasgow in the UK, University of Alberta in Canada, Peking University, Nankai University and Communication University of China.
The pilot zone adopts an innovative model that all the universities have their own buildings, but share public facilities including the library, sports venues and public teaching buildings, said Luo Qing, executive director of International United College of the pilot zone.
She noted that through sharing, different universities can benefit from each other by mutual recognition of credits and mutual selection of courses.
Cao Xiankun, director of the Education Department of Hainan Province, said as China's first industrial park with education opening up as its core mission, the pilot zone is committed to introducing first-class universities at home and abroad and creating an education destination for Chinese and global students, to realize the vision of "studying in Hainan equals studying abroad."