FREDERICTON (GNB) – Jody Carr, minister of education and early childhood development, visited China last week to expand and support a 15-year educational and business partnership that benefits New Brunswick students, families and communities.

"The partnership between the provincial government, through Atlantic Education International Inc. and our partner in China, AKD International, focuses on providing several schools in China with curriculum, training opportunities for New Brunswick teachers, quality assurance, assessment and global learning, all of which generate revenue to be reinvested in the New Brunswick education system,” said Carr.

During the trip, Carr attended graduation ceremonies at three Concord Colleges of Sino-Canada to celebrate the success of more than 570 graduates who received both Chinese and New Brunswick high school diplomas.

He also visited several sites of new or proposed AKD International educational initiatives; officially opened a new school; signed agreements with two additional schools opening in 2013; and discussed an agreement to use New Brunswick's early childhood curriculum in early childhood centres in China.

Carr met with Francis Pang, board chairman of AKD International, who was recently recognized with an award from the United Nations for his contribution to international education. Pang travelled to New Brunswick this week to meet with Premier David Alward.

Alward will visit China this fall to sign a renewed contract with AKD International.

In 1997, New Brunswick was the first jurisdiction in the world to offer an international / Chinese education partnership in that country. The China Partnership includes four types of schools:

●    private international schools;
●    private high school Concord Colleges for Chinese students;
●    private international / Chinese early learning centres; and
●    culturalization / partial curriculum in public primary and middle level Chinese schools.

Almost 3,000 students were enrolled for the 2011-12 school year.

As part of the China program, an enhanced program, where selective students from China take part in a semester of student in a New Brunswick school, has created social and economic benefits to families and schools around the province. These students are given a tour of New Brunswick universities with the hope that they and other classmates from China will pursue post-secondary education in the province. In addition, at least 365 New Brunswick students have travelled to China to participate in a summer cross-cultural exchange.

“This long-standing relationship has created great social, cultural and economic benefits for our education system and province,” said Carr. “I am proud to see such strong collaboration in a 21st-century economy, and I am looking forward to growing our presence in China, the world’s second-largest economy.”

Atlantic Education International Inc. manages the international education programs for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. The board of directors at Atlantic Education International Inc. includes assistant deputy minister level representatives from the departments of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour; Intergovernmental Affairs; Economic Development; and Education and Early Childhood Development. The board will soon expand to include representatives from post-secondary institutions and from school districts. The agency will also start appearing annually before the Crown corporations committee.