China’s education industry update

This country outlook is part of a short series of introducing priority sectors that Team Finland China has chosen for 2022. Team Finland China is a network of public actors and Finnish business chambers in China. The network promotes Finland and its interests abroad: the internationalization of Finnish enterprises, investments in Finland, and the country brand. In total, there are nine focus areas, in which Team Finland actors proactively plan their activities, to help Finnish companies to enter China and grow in Chinese market. Team Finland China priority sectors for 2022 are 1) ICT, 2) food and agro, 3) health technology, 4) energy, 5) bio economy, chemicals and built environment, 6) metal and machinery, 7) maritime, 8) education (incl. research and talent boost) and 9) winter sports


Education remains one of Finland’s best brands in China. However, major reforms of autumn 2021 in China’s education sector make commercial education activities by foreign companies increasingly difficult. On a positive note, China’s quest for a better education system includes many characteristics that Finland has. 

China’s double reduction policy from 2021 aims to ease the burden of out-of-school tutoring and excessive homework, both of which have been key features of Chinese schools. Schools and teachers have struggled to ensure that educational performance does not suffer in the new situation. Finland may have the answers: Finnish education is known for little homework, shorter school days yet excellent learning results. Therefore, Finland’s offerings in teacher training and pedagogy continue to be of great interest in China.   

In general, there are most opportunities for collaboration and education export in higher education. Chinese higher education institutions are actively pursuing international partnerships and often offer cooperation models with financial compensation. Also, the field of vocational education and training (VET) is less regulated than other education sectors and China is looking for models and partners from for example, universities of applied sciences.  

Before Covid-19 educational travel from China to Finland was booming. The hopes are that once the travel restrictions are lifted, the Chinese are eager to explore the world of educational travel again.

Mari-Anna Suurmunne

Senior Specialist (higher education and science policy)

Embassy of Finland in Beijing, China