Theresa May unveils education deal at start of China visit | 2018-01-31 |

Theresa May unveils education deal at start of China visit

Sun Online Desk     31st January, 2018 10:41:51 printer

Theresa May unveils education deal at start of China visit


Theresa May has announced new education links with China as she arrives for a three-day visit to boost trade and investment after Brexit.


The initiative includes the extension of a Maths teacher exchange programme and a campaign to promote English language learning in China.


The UK prime minister has claimed her visit "will intensify the golden era in UK-China relations".


But she has stressed China must adhere to free and fair trade practices.


In an article for the Financial Times ahead of her arrival, she acknowledged that London and Beijing did not see "eye-to-eye" on a number of issues - and she promised to raise concerns from UK industry about the over-production of steel and the protection of intellectual property against piracy.


Other issues likely to be discussed include North Korea and climate change. It is not clear whether they will include human rights in Hong Kong.


Mrs May, who will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, is travelling at the head of a 50-strong business delegation, including BP and Jaguar Land Rover, as well as small firms and universities including Manchester and Liverpool.


Her first stop, Wuhan, in central China, is home to the largest number of students of any city in the world.


The education deal includes:


Extension of a maths teacher exchange programme for a further two years to 2020, enabling around 200 English teachers to visit China


Joint training of pre-school staff in the UK and China


Better information-sharing on vocational education


The launch of an "English is GREAT" campaign to promote English language learning in China


Education deals worth more than £550m, which it is claimed will create 800 jobs in the UK


During the three-day trip, Mrs May is expected to focus on extending existing commercial partnerships rather than scoping out new post-Brexit deals.


China has signalled its desire to invest in high-profile UK infrastructure projects, including the building of a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point - although its involvement has raised some national security concerns.


British trade with China has increased by 60% since 2010 and UK ministers are expected to use the trip to stress that the UK will remain an "excellent place to do business" after it leaves the EU next year.


The UK has said it will prioritise negotiating free trade agreements with major trading partners such as the United States, Australia and Canada after it leaves the EU in March 2019, reports BBC.