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Hainan Releases Rules for Overseas Higher Education Institutions, Limiting them to STEM and Agriculture Programs

China has issued regulations allowing foreign universities and vocational schools to establish independent schools in the Hainan Free Trade Port, but only in the fields of science, engineering, agriculture, and medicine, and they must offer courses on the Chinese constitution and the country’s situation. The rules, jointly issued by the Ministry of Education and the Hainan provincial government, allow foreign institutions that have an independent legal personality to set up schools in the region. Unlike existing Sino-foreign cooperative schools, foreign universities and vocational schools are not required to collaborate with Chinese educational institutions to establish schools in the Hainan Free Trade Port. Other organizations or individuals inside and outside China can participate in education by providing resources such as land, buildings, and funds. In terms of governance, the decision-making body of the school, which includes the president of the school, the head of the party organization, and representatives of faculty and the public, is represented by the foreign higher education institution.

According to the regulations, the school should provide courses on the Chinese constitution, law, civic morality, and the country’s situation, as well as comply with China’s public welfare principles and not harm China’s national sovereignty, security, and social public interests. The regulations also require the introduction of foreign high-level education institutions with good academic reputations and high international visibility, as well as with advantages in the fields of science, engineering, agriculture, and medicine, and whose graduates have good employment quality and positive industry evaluations. The school should have Chinese Communist Party activities in accordance with relevant national regulations. The regulations went into effect on March 24, 2022.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), April 23, 2023