The Kansas state government is aiming to strengthen Kansas-China trade relations through an educational exchange program. Governor Sam Brownback hopes encouraging Chinese students to study in the state could entice more Chinese investors into area.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback hopes an existing student exchange program between Manhattan High School and Beijing’s LuHe High School could further strengthen the trade relationship between the state and China. The arrangement comes as trade between the state and the Asian country shows signs of growth and expansion. He has stressed the significance of building a link to bolster the connection.
In May 2012, a $2.6 billion deal between Kansas City’s AMC Entertainment and China’s Dalian Wanda Group was signed. Under that agreement, Wanda Group would buy AMC screens and theaters across the US and Canada. Prior to that transaction, China has been among the top destination countries of Kansas’ exports. In 2011 alone, the state exported over $642 worth of goods to the country.
Gov. Brownback thinks an exchange education program would enable its students to start making connections in their own way with Chinese trade players. He thinks such arrangements would result to good experiences for students from both parties. He also implied that such a gesture to welcome Chinese teachers and students to the state could possibly create a good impression on prospective Chinese investors.
A strategic investment
Kansas has already invested in specific areas it targets to increase its competitiveness amid an intensifying global economy. It has increased the volume of engineering students by about 50%. It has also invested in specific areas like human medicine, veterinary medicine, and aviation.
The exchange program for high school students is aimed at preparing and orienting Chinese students not just about the US education system but also about American culture. The arrangement lasts for three weeks. Selected students from Manhattan High School are also sent to a similar learning experience in China.
Those Chinese students would be welcome to take college courses at Fort Hayes State University after their graduation. Currently, there are numerous Chinese students who are taking undergraduate and graduate programs at the state university.
Kansas’ educational exchange program
The Kansas State Department of Education started educational exchange programs with Spain in 2005 and with China in 2006. Under those arrangements, teachers from those countries may teach in Kansas schools for three years or less. Some Kansas teachers are also given the opportunity to do the same in those countries.
Consequently, the program has prompted the increase in language classes in the state. In 2006, prior to the implementation of the program, only a few schools in the state teach Chinese language. Now, Mandarin classes are offered in schools across more than 20 school districts in Kansas.