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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-21275: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 29 January 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how it promotes studying in Scotland to prospective students in China.

Answered by: Richard Lochhead 26 February 2019

China continues to be by far the biggest international student market for Scotland's Higher Education sector, with figures published in January 2019 by the Higher Education Statistics Agency showing that China-domiciled student numbers rose again in 2017-18 to 9425 in total, an 11.2% increase on 2016-17 numbers.

The Scottish Government utilises its official online portal Scotland.cn to market Scotland to prospective international students, as well as other groups such as potential investors and tourists. This website is hosted and registered in mainland China, and operates in Mandarin. There are also two social media channels, Weibo and WeChat, that are branded to the major 'Scotland is Now' campaign, and which are operated by staff in the Beijing office, with support from Scottish Government, VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise.

In terms of what relevant content is carried on and via these channels, an example would be the current promotion of the Scotland's Saltire Scholarships to prospective international students currently in China, although to note content on the Scotland.cn website is currently being revised. Applications for this year's 50 scholarships opened in January 2019 and will close at the end of May 2019. These scholarships are worth £8000 towards one year's tuition fees, and are available to Masters level students from China, USA, Canada, India, Pakistan and Japan, who will be studying in Scotland for the first time. More information on the scholarships is available via the following link: https://www.scotland.org/study/saltire-scholarships .

A 2018 collaborative exercise funded by Scottish Government and in partnership with the Scottish university and college sector resulted in the creation of a specific Scotland is Now branded 'Study film', a version of which has been produced with Mandarin subtitles. This film is a free resource for all institutions to use in their own individual recruitment, outreach and marketing activity in China. It is supported by the overarching Scotland is Now film, available subtitled in Mandarin, and a short 'People film', also subtitled in Mandarin. You can find all these resources via the following link: https://assets.scotlandisnow.com/assets?tags=Study,Video .

The Scottish Government also contributes funding to the British Council's 'Generation UK China' and 'International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE)' programme, funding up to 30 internships in China and a futher 90 across the world including China. Scottish domiciled students who participate in these schemes are carefully selected, including on the basis that they are effectively acting as ambassadors for and promoters of Scotland, whilst they are working abroad.