【News Close-up】Promote Education Internationalization and Strengthen Global Competitiveness
In October 2018, a certificate with "Mitacs Outstanding Contribution Award" traveled across the ocean and was sent to Zhang Xiaoran, a 2015 undergraduate student majoring in automation (taught in English) at BIT. In the summer of 2018, he participated in the Canadian Mitacs research internship program and was highly recognized by the Canadian advisor. Later, with the support of BIT, Zhang Xiaoran participated in the IEEE flagship conference BIBM (Biomedicine and Bioinformatics) held in Madrid, Spain, and reported his research results at the conference. Over the years, students with outstanding performances like Zhang Xiaoran are often seen in the international scientific research internship projects carried out by the school.
With the acceleration of globalization, education internationalization has become an important choice for the development of world-class universities. During the "13th Five-Year Plan" period, BIT adhered to open education, deepened comprehensive reforms in the field of education, and achieved remarkable results in undergraduate education internationalization. The number of undergraduates participating in international (overseas) exchanges in 2019 doubled from 2015, accounting for 42.42% of the undergraduates in the grade. International teaching is stable and being improved. In 2019, BIT opened a total of 223 English/bilingual courses, 2.1 times the number in 2015. The establishment of a full English/bilingual teaching major has created an international atmosphere in BIT, promoted the integration of domestic education with international standards, and laid a good foundation for cultivating high-quality talents with international competitiveness.
With double promotion of "quantity" and "quality", comprehensively building an international exchange platform
"The world today needs high-quality talents with international vision, cross-cultural communication skills, and international competitiveness. The development of student exchanges abroad is an important measure for BIT to promote the cultivation of international talents." Vice President Wang Xiaofeng said this at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Undergraduate International (Overseas) Exchange Exhibition. In the past five years, the internationalization of the school's undergraduate education has developed rapidly. As of the end of 2019, the number of BIT’s international exchange programs has increased by 79% compared to 2015, and the number of dual-degree program partners has increased from 8 in 2015 to 13, and gradually formed a cooperation model with high-level universities on 6 continents and 73 countries; BIT carries out all kinds of undergraduate international exchange projects in an all-round way, and forms a global network of undergraduate international exchanges covering all majors; BIT is actively benchmarking against the international first-class standards, and has 46 cooperative projects with the top 200 universities in the QS world ranking, an increase of 25% over 2015; the number of participants in practical research projects accounted for 60% of all short-term projects.
Behind the double promotion of "quantity" and "quality" is BIT’s attention and support for education internationalization. When BIT’s party committee secretary Zhao Changlu led a delegation to visit partner universities in Europe, they had a cordial discussion with BIT students who were in exchange at each university; when President Zhang Jun visited Russia, he spent the Mid-Autumn Festival with local BIT students; Vice President Wang Xiaofeng led a delegation to visit many universities in New Zealand and Australia to further promote the development of overseas exchange programs... After the outbreak of the Covid-2019 in 2020, teachers immediately sent out their concerns and blessings, warming every BIT student overseas with heart-warming words and sincere care.
In order to support students to carry out international exchanges, BIT has set up a "special fund for undergraduates going abroad (border) exchanges", which currently has sponsored more than 8,300 students; BIT actively organizes students to apply for the China Scholarship Council's projects. Up to now, more than 680 students have been funded; BIT launched the "Special Project for Overseas Graduation Designs for International Talents", and funded more than 100 students; BIT implemented the "Canada Mitacs Undergraduate Research and Internship" project, and the number of applicants increased from 4 in 2012 to 70 in 2020. The vigorous development of education internationalization has provided undergraduates with a more diversified international training platform, fully demonstrated the strength of BIT’s talent training, and established a good international image of BIT.
Supporting the steady progress of international teaching
While the undergraduate international (overseas) exchange continues to improve, the internationalization of undergraduate teaching on campus is also advancing steadily. In 2011, BIT piloted the establishment of 4 full English teaching majors, including mechanical engineering and electronic science and technology. For the establishment of the full English teaching majors, the responsible schools are determined to reform and innovate, and follow the establishment ideas of emphasizing practice, design, and integration to establish a scientific and reasonable curriculum system that is in line with international standards, and is equipped with a team of teachers with overseas experience. From 2016 to 2020, the postgraduate rate of the four full English teaching graduates is over 80%, which is much higher than the average postgraduate rate of BIT graduates. Up to now, BIT has established 6 full English teaching majors covering international students, creating a new situation for enrolling students from all over the world and studying in the same class for Chinese and foreign students.
In recent years, BIT has continuously sent teachers who teach in English to overseas to study abroad, and at the same time, BIT has absorbed high-level young teachers with overseas learning backgrounds to gradually improve the teaching and classroom quality of full English teaching courses. In addition to full English teaching majors, the number of English/bilingual courses in other majors of BIT has also steadily increased, from 66 in 2015 to 101 in 2020. Since 2015, BIT has successively opened real-time video courses taught by international teachers, and the teaching method has gradually been in line with international standards. In 2020, Covid-2019 has accelerated the transition of courses from offline to online. Department of Undergraduate Academic Affairs collaborated with schools to design and select more than 30 overseas high-quality online courses and scientific research practice online projects as supplements and extensions of BIT's courses, and promote the recognition of credits and practice points to stimulate students' learning potential and promote personalized development.
"The construction of internationalized courses for undergraduate education could not only be 'invited in', but also be 'sent out," said Li Ping, director of the Department of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. In 2020, the Ministry of Education officially launched a new international MOOC platform-iCourse (iCourse International Platform), and the first 9 English MOOCs recommended by BIT were officially launched. This marks the first step in the internationalization of teaching at BIT. The brand of "Learning at BIT " gradually goes global, realizing the localization of international courses and the international development of local education.
The establishment of internationalized courses for undergraduate education is an inevitable move to adapt to the new situation. The integration of domestic higher education with international standards has broken the barriers of time and space, giving students more choices, and demonstrating BIT's confidence and determination in the internationalization of undergraduate education.
Innovating ways to serve the country’s major strategic needs
The purpose of higher education is not only to satisfy students' personal growth pursuit, but also to shoulder the important task of cultivating talents for the country. "In the 'Belt and Road' science and technology action plan, higher education shoulders three important missions: intellectual support, the source of innovation, and the responsibility of think tanks. We must give full play to the advantages of industry-university-research collaboration, establish a production-university-research integration interaction mechanism, and coordinate the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative. " Zhao Changlu, secretary of the BIT party committee, said in an interview with People's Daily Online. At present, BIT has cooperated and exchanged projects with nearly 20 universities in 7 countries including Russia, South Korea, and Italy to carry out cooperation and exchange projects such as double degrees, summer practice, exchange students, visiting studies, and graduation design, actively serving the national strategic needs.
The school strives to promote student exchanges, medium- and long-term visits, short-term exchanges and training with cooperative colleges and universities under the “Belt and Road” initiative, and conducts dual-degree joint training in the field of engineering and technology. In order to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Russia, in 2017, BIT and Bauman Moscow State Technical University and other high-level universities jointly established the "Sino-Russian Joint Training Program for Specialized Professionals with Undergraduate and Master Degree Programs", aiming to cultivate international talents in important fields of national demand.
From the conclusion of inter-university agreements to the establishment of university alliances, education internationalization of BIT is transforming from a single project to systematic cooperation, and a new development channel for the cultivation of innovative talents and a new situation of win-win cooperation are taking shape.
The competition between countries is ultimately the competition of talents. Undergraduate education internationalization has a long way to go. BIT will further strengthen the training of students' professional knowledge and academic ability, make full use of overseas high-quality educational resources, and create an international curriculum system that combines horizontal and vertical "general courses + professional courses", to form an international education pattern for undergraduates that matches the training goals of international talents, and to make continuous efforts to cultivate socialist builders and successors with comprehensive development of moral, intellectual, physical, artistic and labor qualities.