Archive of European Projects

Establishing a Nordic Consortium for China Studies
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The ever-growing global relevance and complexity of "China" has long generated an urgent need for high-quality, innovative and diversified "China Studies" (CS) in HEI. The particular circumstances of the Nordic countries with their unique yet widespread expertise, partly small-scale local resources and limited organizational networks have made it difficult to face this challenge. On top of these “Nordic conditions”, the academic subject as such has only gradually transformed from classical philology into a more applied, multi-disciplinary area of study, teaching and research of modern and contemporary China. In terms of resources, CS is a subject of modest size and departmental restructuring in recent years has made its visibility even more difficult. From an educational policy perspective, Nordic countries in general register a comparatively high drop-out rate of BA students, a low number of MA students and a general resistance to studying abroad for a longer period of time. The establishment of a Nordic Consortium of China Studies (NCCS) is the result of a joint effort from 4 Nordic universities aiming to address these challenges in a long-term perspective. Consequently, the overall objectives have been to facilitate innovative educational organization at regional (Nordic) level, to pool a variety of joint activities in order to strengthen ”Nordic China Studies” at the European and international level and to enhance the quality of education. The NCCS now works as a strategic promotion and communication platform that focuses on strategic development, organizational management and internationalization by increasing synergies and promoting structured inter-regional cooperation within CS and amplifying visibility internationally; increasing attractiveness of CS and employability of students as well as minimizing the drop-out rate by enhancing the quality, diversity and relevance of the studies; promoting internationalization and strengthening network building by establishing a joint Nordic Center for China Studies at the Chinese partner university (Zheda); establishing a Nordic Network of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NordNet of TCFL) that focuses on enhancing the professional development of language teachers and teaching within CS. All 4 participating organizations (Aarhus, Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm) have: different disciplinary profiles either in Social Sciences or Humanities, a high academic standing and have partly cooperated earlier within a NordPlus project. The main activities in building this strategic partnership have been the establishment, promotion and official launch of the NCCS by consolidating regular exchange, meetings and inter-university cooperation structures. A common website (http://www.su.se/asia/english/nordic-consortium-for-china-studies) serves as a platform to tie together common activities, to provide an organizational, administrative and communicative forum for involved partners. A Nordic-Chinese Master program with double degree in China Studies has been promoted, monitored, coordinated, and re-organized by developing a series of intensive courses since language serves as the backbone of CS. The NCCS has also established NordNet of TCFL that works towards professionalization and enhancement of Chinese language education within CS. The project has resulted in the NCCS website and social networks hosted by Nordic students who created StudNet of NCCS. Additionally, Japanese and Korean Studies at Stockholm University have started working towards Nordic cooperation in their respective fields. 8 intensive courses have been developed, co-taught, evaluated, re-worked, and are now accessible at the NCCS website. NordNet of TCFL coordinates language teaching and learning activities among the involved partners and in cooperation with Nordic high schools. They hold yearly international workshops and have cultivated efficient cooperative exchange on formal and informal levels, e.g. they continue their work within a NordPlus teacher mobility project; on a regular basis teachers visit their partner universities for observing colleagues’ classes, co-teaching and monitoring, evaluating classes and student/ teacher performance. As a long term benefit the project has worked towards making CS an appealing MA specialization based on a well-structured educational organization, as it has created attractive study conditions of excellent quality with innovative and relevant courses. Due to joint efforts, efficient monitoring, continuous evaluation and re-working of the courses, as well as effective communication on the basis of mutual understanding, the drop-out rate during the pilot-period was 0%. Student feedback was almost exclusively positive. European-wide problems like the general decline of student numbers in China-related MA programs or the continuous economization of education still exist, however NCCS functions as the perfect platform to discuss and face these challenges.
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