On July 5th, 2017, Beijing hosted the Fifth Meeting of the BRICS Countries’ Ministers of Education.
In the opening speeches, the ministers and vice-ministers of education of the five BRICS countries emphasized the role of the BRICS Network University in the development of educational cooperation between the BRICS countries. Today, the Network University is the only functioning university association in the BRICS countries. The Ministers also attracted attention to other aspects of the BRICS collaboration, such as research cooperation (Brazil), summer camps (China), collaboration in IT (India), development of TVET (South Africa), and establishment of the comparable statistical indicators (Russia).
China’s Minister of Education, Chen Baosheng, addressed the participants with a report “Strengthening Pragmatic Cooperation and Promoting Win-win Development”, where he highlighted the achievement of the Peoples’Republic of China in the area of enhancing equal access to the high-quality education and spoke about the main points of possible collaboration between the BRICS countries in this field. He identified four main focuses of such collaboration, including: (1) cultural and people-to-people exchanges; (2) pragmatic cooperation in higher, vocational and primary education, including language teaching and research in education; (3) win-win development for the achieving targets of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; (4) institutional development, including meetings of the BRICS ministers of education as well as strengthening other important institutional links.
In response, the Ministers of Education of the BRICS countries told the audience about the activities of their Ministries aimed at organization of mutually beneficial cooperation.
As a result of the meeting, the Ministers signed the Beijing Declaration, which had been designed at the meeting of Senior Officials on July 4th. The Declaration contains encouragement to support the BRICS Network University and to use it as the main platform for educational, scientific and innovation cooperation of universities. Among other important things the Declaration emphasises the importance of technical and vocational education (TVET) for the BRICS educational cooperation. The Chinese side proposed to host a conference of the researchers in education and a joint youth summer camp. South Africa invited the participants to the Third General Conference of the BRICS Network University in Cape Town, while the Russian side attracted participants attention to the “BRICS Global Business and Innovation” Conference, which is to take place on September 14-15, 2017 at Higher School of Economics, Saint Petersburg.