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Inaugural International Research and Academic Exploration Forum in Southeast China, alongside GEC Academy’s Regional Educational Exchange Gala

By Yiran Zhuo, research fellow of ASI Global

December 15, 2023 UPDATED 12:17 AM. GMT+8

On November 23rd, the Inaugural International Research and Academic Exploration Forum in Southeast China, in conjunction with GEC Academy’s Regional Educational Exchange Gala, successfully concluded in Xiamen, Fujian. Co-hosted by GEC Academy, the British Council, and US NEWS, and co-sponsored by the International EPQ Learning Center and Choice Education Group, the event garnered support from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University - GEC Academy Center of Innovative Design for Interdisciplinary Studies, TopSchools, and the OxfordAQA International Examination Bureau. With a robust attendance of over 200 participants, including educators from international schools and institutions, representatives from international examination bodies, and frontline experts in international education, the forum provided a dynamic platform to delve into global education trends, engage in discussions about talent development, and international education in Southeast China.

Mr. Meijin Guo, Vice President and Southern Region Director of GEC Academy, delivering an opening address

In his opening address, Mr. Guo eloquently anchored his speech in the indomitable spirit found in traditional Chinese myths – a spirit characterized by an unwavering resolve in the face of adversity and a bold readiness to confront challenges. Against the backdrop of a post-pandemic economic resurgence, Mr. Guo called upon industry peers to unite in their efforts, emphasizing the collective responsibility to contribute to the dynamic growth of the international education sector.

Mr. Linqi Tang, East Asia Regional Director of the OxfordAQA Examination Bureau

Mr. Tang went on to underscore the extraordinary transformation witnessed in Xiamen’s international education scene over the last decade. Foreseeing a rejuvenation of industry benchmarks and resources in the post-pandemic era, Mr. Tang articulated his belief that this Xiamen forum would play a pivotal role as a catalyst for Southeast China’s international education, fostering meaningful exchanges and collaborations among the distinguished participants.

Mr. Sheng Yan, CEO of GEC Academy delivering a keynote speech

During his keynote address, Mr. Yan delved into the theme of Research Empowering International Talent Development, Enhancing Competitiveness in Study Abroad, showcasing GEC Academy’s profound expertise in project-based and research-oriented learning. Reflecting on his personal educational journey, Mr. Yan underscored GEC’s dedication to ensuring equitable access to educational resources and advancing the internationalization of scientific and technological talent. “The blurring of disciplinary boundaries and the virtualization of campuses are reshaping trends in the admission of international talents by prestigious overseas institutions,” highlighted by Mr. Yan, “Through meticulously designed research-oriented programs, GEC aims to shift students’ learning from passive to proactive, empowering them in their pursuit of admission to renowned institutions. Our central focus remains on nurturing genuinely forward-thinking, application-driven talents that seamlessly align with the evolving global landscape.”

Mr. Jingwei Yu, the Director of Business Development for the British Council’s examination services in China explaining Trust and Connect

Mr. Yu centered his keynote speech on the pivotal concepts of Trust and Connect. He articulated his vision for international schools and institutions globally to cultivate trust by incorporating the IELTS examination into scenarios like student admissions testing and English proficiency assessments.

Mr. Wang Rui, Senior Manager at US News Global Education talking about Reassessing the Value of Rankings for Choosing Majors and Universities

Conducting a meticulous examination of the shifts in this year’s U.S. university rankings, Mr. Wang provided a nuanced perspective on students’ decision-making concerning both their choice of universities and fields of study. He underscored the significance of not fixating solely on rankings when making these decisions, advocating for a comprehensive consideration of the university’s culture and its capacity to offer students a diverse array of opportunities and resources.

The following two roundtable sessions brought together distinguished guests to explore the vital role of international education in amplifying students’ soft skills and competitiveness during the pandemic. Discussions also delved into perspectives on academic pressures and the lying flat phenomenon, with a strong emphasis on defining and nurturing soft skills, including cross-cultural understanding. The two roundtable sessions also underscored the necessity for clear goals in academic competitiveness and advocated for collaborative planning between parents and students. Additionally, the importance of supporting the mental health of students throughout their developmental journey was a key highlight.

Dr. David Tidswell, the Foreign Principal of Fuzhou Rongqiao Sino-Canadian School delivering closing remarks

In the closing session, Dr. Tidswell delivered remarks on the theme Beyond Scores: Unleashing Students’ Potential in University Applications. He emphasized, “As educators, we hold a significant responsibility for the development of our students. Given the rapid and sustained growth in international education, it is crucial for us to fully tap into students’ potential and guide them toward broader cultural exposure.”

Moving ahead, GEC Academy is committed to fostering close collaboration with peers in the international education sector. We will work collaboratively to contribute to the cultivation of innovative global talents and the advancement of high-quality education and to play a significant role in the thriving development of international education.

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