Charles Chen Yidan. Photo: Asia Times
Charles Chen Yidan. Photo: Asia Times

Cultivating global talent is the new objective of the internationalization of education, a topic that has been attracting interest over the past two decades but lacks relevant research, a Chinese philanthropist says.

The internationalization of education has helped a large number of students from less-developed countries to enjoy first-class educational opportunities over the past 20 years, Charles Chen Yidan, co-founder of Tencent Holdings and founder of the Yidan Prize, the largest global prize in education, said in a speech to the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Tuesday.

However, another view is that the trend has created a new unfairness as talented students tend to stay in the developed countries instead of going back to work in their homelands, causing a brain-drain problem in developing countries, Chen said.

“The relevant research is limited in scope, and this translates into arguments rather than conclusions,” he said. “Obviously, more attention has to be paid in this area as the internationalization process continues.”

Chen was invited to give a speech at the fourth Eastern Economic Forum in the Russian city of Vladivostok. The three-day forum was hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin and attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two leaders will meet during the forum.

The main themes of this year’s forum include international cooperation in the Far East, support for investors, priorities for industry and improving living conditions in the region.

In his speech, Chen remarked on globalization, new market-driven demands, changes in consumption patterns and greater need for flexibility, which are spurring broader cooperation in education and encouraging its internationalization.

“A vigorous market demand for talent has forced the education sector to adjust, leading it to undergo rapid development. Transnational distance learning, enabled by the rise of the Internet, can help meet the public’s varied needs,” Chen said.

He called for greater cooperation in sharing best practices to help distinct educational systems find the best approaches to addressing pressing issues.

He urged post-secondary institutions to contribute in research pertaining to the internationalization of education, which should be aimed at cultivating more global talents. He said the Yidan Prize, which will announce its 2018 laureates on Sunday, will help in the sharing of proven practices that can improve educational outcomes for a greater number of people.