Cautious optimism for Sino-U.S. educational exchange forward
By Tao Xing  ·  2021-01-19  ·   Source: Web Exclusive

A screenshot taken from a webinar on Sino-U.S. educational cooperation under the Biden administration held on January 16 (COURTESY PHOTO)

Several scholars and educators from China and the U.S. expressed their confidence for the recovery of both countries' educational collaboration during the Biden administration. Nevertheless, all parties did admit that the current status quo cannot and will not shift overnight.

Cheng Davis, Co-founder of the Forum for World Education and Special Advisor to the President of the University of Pennsylvania, said Biden possesses extensive university teaching experience, providing him with a solid outlook on teaching and learning. "I believe he will do a good job regarding matters of education during his presidency," Davis said.

Davis made the remarks during a webinar on Sino-U.S. educational cooperation in Biden administration, which took place in Beijing on January 16. She believed the people of both nations have always harbored friendly feelings towards each other, regardless of any political disagreements.

Many reports have noted that the incoming of the new Biden administration clearly signals a greater interest in creating new pathways for international educational opportunities, Stephen T. Golding, vice president for finance and administration at Ohio University said during the webinar.

Over the past four years, U.S. President Donald Trump's anti-China rhetoric has caused social distrust between the two countries, said Jia Qingguo, a professor at the School of International Studies at Peking University.

On May 29, 2020, the Trump administration published a Presidential Proclamation entitled Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People's Republic of China. As of September 8, that very same year, more than 1,000 Chinese nationals saw their visas revoked under the pretense of posing a risk to national security, according to the U.S. State Department.

Moreover, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic further triggered the concern of many a Chinese parent regarding their children's safety whilst attending schools in the U.S, according to Jia.

A recent poll by China's Institute of International Education South-South Cooperation shows that the U.S. remains the premier destination for Chinese students opting to study abroad, however, 67 percent of respondents termed social security as their key consideration of studying there.

Despite the political environment, both parties must now deal with the dynamics of what is happening in Washington, Golding told Beijing Review, "The universities themselves have been advocates for a more liberal visa policy and for creating opportunities for students, Chinese students as well as others, to come to the United States."

"One can understand that people placed their hopes on Biden after dealing with Trump's political untruths," Jia said, "But we must not be too optimistic, because China and the U.S. are currently in a competitive relationship. And Sino-U.S. relations are the very foundation for any educational cooperation."

Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon

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