Publication - Publication

Working with China: five-year engagement strategy

Published: 4 Dec 2012
External Affairs Directorate
Part of:
Economy, International

High-level strategy setting out the Scottish Government’s ambitions in developing Scotland’s relationship with China over the next five years.

18 page PDF

210.8 kB

18 page PDF

210.8 kB

Working with China: five-year engagement strategy
Priority Area 2

18 page PDF

210.8 kB

Priority Area 2

To expand and deepen Scotland's education links with China.


  • Target 2.1: Increase the number of Chinese and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region students studying in Scotland from the current 8.5% share (2010/11) to a 10% share of the total UK Chinese and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region student population.
  • Target 2.2: Double the number of teachers of Mandarin working in local authority schools in Scotland, based on 2011/12 levels.
  • Target 2.3: Double the number of school students attaining recognised qualifications in Chinese language, based on 2011/12 levels.


  • Encourage our universities and further education establishments to develop more long term, sustainable partnerships in China.
  • Develop a new and updated education framework with the Chinese Ministry of Education.
  • Broaden access to language and cultural learning opportunities through implementation of new "1+2" languages model and by encouraging more local authorities and schools to develop links and exchanges with China .
  • Encourage participation in initiatives which target mobility and internationalisation of students, staff and researchers.
  • Make greater use of alumni and Scottish expatriate networks in China and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
  • Work with Hanban to provide placement opportunities for Chinese teachers to support Confucius Hubs in Scotland through the Mandarin Teacher Exchange Scotland Programme.


Scotland and China's future prosperity rests on the ambitions and talents of our young people and their ability to take advantage of opportunities afforded by participation in the globalised marketplace. Both countries believe that they share a responsibility to instil a stronger global dimension into the learning experience of children and young people.

Scottish Higher Education Institutes ( HEIs) continue to develop and build collaborative partnerships with China and with Chinese universities. Our universities have been proactively engaging for a number of years and have established effective long-term relationships and partnerships. We will continue to support our institutions in this work by engaging them in inward and outward Ministerial visits.

Scotland has been successful in attracting increasing numbers of international students choosing to study in Scotland from China and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. We want this trend to continue further contributing to the internationalisation of our universities.

We recognise that while some Chinese students may choose to live and work in Scotland, the majority will return to China with a greater understanding of Scotland. We want their time spent as international students to reflect the welcome they received and for them to develop an affinity with their institution, the Scottish people and Scotland. This positive experience can be shared with their family and friends and generate an established link that can be taken forward in their chosen careers. This positive student experience raises the profile of Scotland and the quality of Scottish education as well as opening up potential business links as the students take up employment in China.

We are currently less successful at encouraging Scottish students to spend time abroad during their studies. We will ensure we continue to work actively with the Scottish Higher Education sector to explore opportunities to encourage more Scottish students to undertake a period of study or work experience in China and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which will help build knowledge and skills.

One of the main barriers to better student mobility is a lack of language skills. The Scottish Government is committed to strengthening language learning and teaching, including Chinese language, through implementation of a new "1+2" model of language learning for Scotland's children and young people. Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence recognises the importance of language learning as a skill that can enable young people to participate fully in a global society and economy. The acquisition of Chinese language skills can present young people with future opportunities as Scotland deepens its engagement with China and we build our capacity in Mandarin teaching.

The Scottish Government's commitment to creating the conditions in which every child can learn two languages in addition to their mother tongue will provide new opportunities for young Scots to broaden their language learning. The Scottish Government will work with local authorities to address the key challenges in ensuring that Chinese language can take its place in the range of languages offered in Scottish schools. We will work closely with key stakeholders to help develop links between schools, further and higher education, business and Chinese communities.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools is promoting the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture in schools across Scotland. In doing so, it is working in close collaboration and partnership with Education Scotland, other Confucius Institutes in Scotland, local authorities, Chinese colleagues and Hanban.

Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence has attracted international interest and we are keen to share learning and teaching experiences to the mutual benefit of our two countries. In recent years, groups of Scottish learners and head teachers have undertaken study visits to China.

In the field of health care China faces significant practical challenges in meeting its long-term ambition of securing access to health care for its population on a comparable basis to that available in Europe. Scotland's experience in the health care sector is relevant to tackling that challenge. There are significant opportunities for knowledge transfer and for Scotland to play a leading role in assisting Chinese health care professionals and public institutions.


Email: China Team Mailbox,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road