Saturday, January 16, 2010

After China

Spent a day in China visiting old friends and sitting in on a digital convergence lab that was set up by my old journalism school director, Ying Chan.

The school of journalism there is backed by Li Ka Shing Foundation, so it's an interesting case for China. Its probably the only public university in China funded by private dollars. Lots of implications here.

What does that mean for American investors who want to put money down on building up private education in China?

What happens with American or other foreign money in China? Just because you put private money into a state run and state-funded operation, it doesn't mean you are going to get that money back. There is always that risk.

So how can Ying Chan do it? Aside from having the backing of Li Ka Shing, Asia's richest man, she's also got ties to Hong Kong and is backed by solid partners. It's an interesting education about education in China. I am glad I got to see it first hand.

I learned two things about this:

Shantou University is on the cutting edge of how education will be done in China. I will be writing more about this later, but in a nutshell:

First university in China to use an open source, Chinese language-friendly digital publishing and curriculum tool. It started out in the Journalism School, but now the university itself wants to run it for the whole institution of 8,000 students.

If that is open source, there is no problem to think that they would make this expansion down to other schools in China and in Asia. Jeremiah Foo, CTO of the school said that he is already in talks with Malaysian schools to spread this technology.

They are working with Apple to launch something in March. More on that in March. I can't talk about it.

It is totally feasible that corporations in the United States can partner with a school like this and actually teach classes on the corporate culture, on business, and on everything from engineering, to accounting and more to these students. It's very possible we might see a day where actual global companies have teaching units inside some of these public universities in China. What does that mean? It's hard to even fathom how revolutionary that kind of education system would be.

There is so much more to talk about, and I will be mentioning some if it off and on in the next few weeks.

Now it is time to go back out into Hong Kong, and have some yum cha and talk with my friends. Good to be back "home" again.

By the way, for those of you in New York, it's 55 degrees today and I got sunburn. Suckers!

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