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Transition in Chinese-British higher education articulation programmes: closing the gap between East and West?

Hou, Junxia; Montgomery, Catherine; McDowell, Liz


Junxia Hou

Catherine Montgomery

Liz McDowell


Janette Ryan


Following China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation in 2001 and the enactment of the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on ChineseForeign Cooperation in Running Schools in 2003, cooperation between Chinese and foreign higher education institutions has been greatly enhanced. Articulation programmes at undergraduate level are one of the most popular forms of collaboration between universities in China and the United Kingdom, both for recruitment and educational reasons. These are programmes whereby Chinese students recruited through the National Higher Education Entrance Examination study in a Chinese partner institution for one to three years, then progress to the United Kingdom to complete their studies. This chapter starts with an analysis of the rationale for articulation programmes from the policy level. It then draws upon a longitudinal research study of the cross-cultural transition experiences of 50 engineering students, based on fieldwork carried out over 15 months in China and the United Kingdom. The research suggests that the cultural, linguistic and academic challenges faced by these students may have been decreased by the ‘closing of the gap’ between the Chinese and British contexts, as a result of the development of China’s globalisation as a society and an economy, and also by the structure of the articulation programme, which aims to prepare students academically, linguistically and psychologically for their further study in the United Kingdom. The unique feature of such articulation programmes, i.e. studying abroad as a group, may have hindered the development of students’ relationships with home-based students in the initial phase. However, thewillingness of the students towork together is evident and they report that, over time, positive relationships can and will emerge. In addition to this, the strength of the large group culture has actively influenced the teaching and learning practices in the university in the United Kingdom, which has meant that change has also occurred in the host context.


Hou, J., Montgomery, C., & McDowell, L. (2010). Transition in Chinese-British higher education articulation programmes: closing the gap between East and West?. In J. Ryan (Ed.), China's higher education reform and internationalisation, 104-114. Taylor & Francis

Publication Date Oct 12, 2010
Deposit Date Dec 19, 2014
Journal China's Higher Education Reform and Internationalisation
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Pages 104-114
Series Title Routledge Contemporary China Series
Series Number 57
Book Title China's higher education reform and internationalisation
Chapter Number 6
ISBN 978-0-203-84277-5
Keywords REF 2014 submission
Public URL