Every three years the Ministers of Education and senior officials of the 54 Commonwealth countries convene to share experiences and advance on common agendas.
The 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) was held in Mauritius from 28 to 31 August 2012. It focused on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Education for All (EFA) goals.
Mark Bray and Trey Menefee were contracted by the Commonwealth Secretariat to produce the lead statistical document containing country ‘report cards’, which they presented during the opening session of the Ministers’ meeting. In this seminar they will share observations both on their report (which can be downloaded from www.educationinthecommonwealth.com), on the nature of the Ministers’ meeting, and on the wider agenda concerning new goals beyond 2015.
This seminar will interrogate the concepts of brain drain, gain, circulation and knowledge diaspora and the shifting patterns of academic mobility between a rising power and a leading power.
The research on which the seminar is based examined the patterns and reasons for Chinese academic mobility to the US by targeting those staying in US universities. Through semi-structured interviews and questionnaires, the research explores why some Chinese academics have chosen to return while the others prefer to stay in the US. It also asks how they view the academic profession in the home and host institutions, and examines the collaboration and interaction with China’s domestic peers and colleagues.
The findings have implications for China’s strategy to get its overseas academics back. The study also notes the changes in Chinese academic systems when significant numbers of academics return.
Li Mei is an associate professor in East China Normal University, Shanghai. She earned her PhD from HKU in 2006. She was a visiting scholar at the University of California Los Angeles in 2011.