University of Massachusetts Signs Groundbreaking Agreement with China
UMass Poised to Become Approved First Foreign University to Provide Online Education in China
BOSTON, MA – MARCH 31, 2008 – The University of Massachusetts today announced the signing of an agreement that places it on course to become the first foreign university approved to offer online education courses and degree programs in China. Under the agreement, signed in Beijing, officials from UMass and from China’s Continuing Education Association (CCEA) and the CerEdu Corporation will work together to make UMassOnline, the University’s award-winning distance education program, available to students throughout China.
Plans call for UMassOnline to offer credit and non-credit courses, certificate programs, and degree programs from all five UMass campuses -- through online and face to face programs -- throughout China. Forty UMassOnline courses, four certificate programs, and one master’s degree program could be made available in China within a year.
“We are very proud to have been chosen by our partners in China to enter into this agreement,” said University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson. “We have developed one of the best online education programs in the world, and that is increasingly being recognized around the globe.”
The Ministry of Education has final approval power over distance learning programs in China and currently does not recognize the college credits or degree credentials earned in China via distance learning offerings from any foreign-based academic institution. In fact, only 68 universities within China have been authorized by the Ministry to deliver online programs.
“This joint venture will position UMassOnline to receive the Ministry’s approval to provide online education and grant degrees throughout China,” said David Gray, CEO of UMassOnline. “With a population nearing 1.3 billion, the opportunity in China is enormous and we look forward to collaborating with both the CCEA and CerEdu to develop online learning programs of the highest quality.”
About CCEA and CerEdu
The China Continuing Education Association (CCEA) is a national academic society focusing on continuing education research. Its secretariat is set in the Education and Training Administration Office of Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. CerEdu Corporation, a subsidiary company of Cernet Corporation, is devoted to online education, transnational education, professional development, and certificates. Based on Cernet’s network infrastructure across China, CerEdu has built the CerPlatform for distance learning and has established sites for distance learning in China’s provinces.