Townsville delegation promotes education links in China

Date published: 22 September 2017

A delegation of Townsville education leaders is returning from China with commitments to boost collaboration and student exchanges with Townsville Sister Cities Changshu and Foshan.

The nine day tour of leading Chinese schools, colleges and universities followed the signing in May this year of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Townsville campus of the CQU and Changshu Institute of Technology.

The 10 member delegation included representatives from four of Townsville’s largest high schools – Cathedral, Kirwan, Pimlico, William Ross – as well as James Cook University (JCU) and Central Queensland University (CQU).

Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill said the tour has helped forge closer links with potential long term mutual benefits.

“Our visit showed our commitment to grow and expand cooperation in education and opportunities in Townsville,” Cr Hill said.

“With 10 million people in Foshan and Changshu and more than 100 million people in surrounding provinces, there’s a huge and growing demand for education services.

“The prospect of students from Changshu and Foshan visiting Townsville for education and study tours, and Townsville students and teachers travelling there, is an exciting opportunity for the city.”

Allan Evans, principal of the William Ross State High School was one of four Townsville secondary school representatives who participated in the trip.

Mr Evans said it has opened the way for greater numbers of Chinese students to broaden their education experience in Townsville.

“We have demonstrated the combined strength of our four schools underpinned by a commitment to broaden education opportunities with schools across Changshu and Foshan,” Mr Evan said.

Kari Arbouin, Associate Vice Chancellor of Central Queensland University said the opportunity to see Chinese educational institutions first-hand and meet with officials and academics was invaluable.

“The entire delegation was excited by the level of interest in developing relationships with our schools and universities and those across our Sister Cities,” Ms Arbouin said.

“Both cities committed to developing reciprocal agreements for student exchanges and are excited by the opportunity to learn from each other.”

Professor Nola Alloway, JCU’s Dean of the College of Arts, Society and Education, said schools and universities in China were very interested in the prospect of students furthering their study at James Cook University.

“They already knew about JCU’s reputation for marine science, that we are number one in the world for Marine and Freshwater Biology and number two for Biodiversity and Conservation,” Professor Alloway said.

Cr Hill said the commitments secured during the visit are a big step forward towards making Townsville an international education centre for northern Australia.

“It’s a potentially lucrative economic opportunity for the city and one we’re already factoring into the new Townsville CBD master plan,” Cr Hill said.

“There are plans to include space for tertiary and secondary school accommodation, purpose built for international students visiting to broaden their education and life experience.”

The delegation returns to Townsville on the weekend.