The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. will today (Saturday March 16th) begin his visit to China as part of the Government’s programme of St Patrick’s Day visits.
Minister McHugh will begin his six day trip by visiting Beijing Technology and Business University, a partner of University College Cork on St Patrick’s Day.
As part of the St Patrick’s Day festivities, Minister McHugh will visit the Great Wall of China and witness the Greening of the Great Wall ceremony which will include performances by Irish musicians and dancers.
A visit to Bainian Vocational Education School will allow the Minister to see first-hand the great work that this school does with the children of poor migrant workers, supported by funding from the Embassy of Ireland in Beijing.
The Minister will also witness a number of Memorandum of Understanding signings during the trip involving IT Carlow, UCC and Dublin Business School. Also included will be a signing between Letterkenny Institute of Technology and Chengdu Neusoft University. This MoU will cover two strategically significant new developments including the announcement of new Pathway programmes in Computing, Design/Digital Arts and Business Management/Marketing.
The Minister will meet with the Chinese Vice-Minister for Education to discuss bilateral education cooperation with a view to strengthening further the links between Ireland and China.
In addition to the St Patrick’s Day programme and Education in Ireland initiatives, the visit will include a number of enterprise-focused meetings with clients and potential clients of IDA and Enterprise Ireland.
Minister McHugh will also visit Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. In Guangzhou, he will visit the South China Agricultural University, where he will discuss the planned joint college with University College Dublin, including programmes in biology, agriculture and food science.
In Hong Kong, Minister McHugh will hold a bilateral meeting with Mr Kevin Yeung, JP, Secretary for Education in Hong Kong where they will explore opportunities for future collaborations in education and research and seek to deepen bilateral political engagement.
Speaking ahead of the trip, Minister McHugh said: “I am particularly looking forward to my visit to China as part of the Government’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations. China is one of our key international partners and on my first visit here I can see why this side of the globe is given such a priority in our diplomatic and commercial focus.
“I am profoundly impressed by China’s story of development over the last few decades. I believe this can be attributed to the respect for education that has been so deeply embedded in the culture of China throughout much of its thousands of years of history.
“Much like China, education is central to Ireland’s success in recent decades and has played an essential role in the development of our countries’ diplomatic ties.”