Massey Dialogues: Canada-China Higher Education Relations
Canada is among the earliest major Western countries that established formal relationship with China; Canada is the first major Western country that aided upgrading China’s higher education system in the early years of China’s reform era–in the 1970s and 1980s–which was pivotal to China’s social and economic development thereafter. The early-year one-way traffic in the form of educational aid has later evolved into a two-way traffic between Canada and China, whereby Canada has been benefiting from the bilateral educational relations: China is now a major source of Canada’s international students and skilled immigrants; Canadian universities increasingly enter research collaboration with their counterparts in China, which is now emerging as a global powerhouse for knowledge production. While Canada-China higher education relations may now be at a crossroads, owing to current geopolitical tensions that could lead to a decoupling between China and the West, we speak with Drs. Daniel A. Bell, Ruth Hayhoe and Qian Tang about their perspectives on Canada-China higher education relations. Moderated by Qiang Zha.
Daniel A. BellDaniel A. Bell is originally from Montreal, Quebec, and was educated at McGill University and Oxford University. He is currently Dean of the School of Political Science and Public Administration at Shandong University (Qingdao). In 2018, he was awarded the Huilin Prize and was honored as a “Cultural Leader” by the World Economic Forum. In 2019 he was awarded the Special Book Award of China. His books include The China Model (Princeton, 2015), and the latest volume (co-authored with Wang Pei) Just Hierarchy (Princeton, 2020).
Qian TangQian Tang studied from 1979 to 1985 at the University of Windsor, Canada where he earned a Master’s degree (Exercise Physiology) and PhD (Biology). Dr Tang then joined the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa as the First Secretary responsible for promoting academic relation between China and Canada. He returned to China in 1989 and worked at the Ministry of Education in Beijing as Division Director and then Shaanxi Provincial Government in Xi’an. Dr Tang jointed UNESCO in 1993, and occupied a number of senior posts at its headquarters in Paris. In 2010 he was appointed as the Assistant Director-General for Education leading UNESCO’s Sector of Education until his retirement in 2018.
Qiang ZhaQiang Zha is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education, York University, where he served as the Director of Graduate Program in Education 2017-2020. In 2020-2021 academic year, he is visiting scholar to the Massey College at the University of Toronto. He holds a PhD (Higher Education) from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto and a MA (Comparative Education) from the Institute of Education, University of London. His research interests include Chinese and East Asian higher education, international academic relations, global brain circulation, internationalization of higher education, differentiation and diversity in higher education, theories of organizational change, and liberal arts education in China and elsewhere.
Ruth HayhoeRuth Hayhoe is a professor at the University of Toronto. Her Asian engagements have included First Secretary for Education, Science and Culture in the Canadian Embassy in Beijing (1989-1991), Visiting Professor at Nagoya University (1996) and Director of the Hong Kong Institute of Education (now the Education University of Hong Kong, 1997-2002). Her recent books include China Through the Lens of Comparative Education (2015), Canadian Universities in China’s Transformation: An Untold Story (2016) and Religion and Education (2018). She received the Silver Bauhinia Star from the Hong Kong SAR Government and the title of Commandeur dans l’ordre des Palmes Académiques from the Government of France in 2002. She also holds honorary doctorates from the Hong Kong Institute of Education (2002), the Open University of Hong Kong (2015) and Victoria University in Toronto (2019).