Theresa May has unveiled a new China-UK education deal as she arrived in Wuhan for her first state visit to the country.
The education initiative will see the extension of a “pioneering” maths teacher exchange programme, according to the British government.
The scheme arranges for British maths teachers to visit China and vice versa, allowing them to learn from each other’s’ teaching methods.
Other aspects of the deal include a new campaign to promote English language learning in China, joint training of pre-school staff and information sharing on vocational training.
However, the prime minister has stressed China must adhere to free and fair-trade practices.
In an article for the Financial Times ahead of her arrival, she acknowledged that London and Beijing did not see "eye-to-eye" on several issues - and she promised to raise concerns from UK industry about the over-production of steel and the protection of intellectual property against piracy.
Mrs May travelled at the head of a 50-strong business delegation, including representatives of multinationals like BP and Jaguar Land Rover, small enterprises from around the UK and several universities.
The prime minister previously met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Germany in 2017.
Her first stop was Wuhan, in central China, which is home to the largest number of students in any city worldwide.
The new educational initiatives with China include:
- Extension of a maths teacher exchange programme for a further two years to 2020, enabling around 200 English teachers to visit China.
- Joint training of pre-school staff in the UK and China.
- Improved information-sharing on vocational education.
- The launch of a new “English is GREAT” campaign to promote English language learning in China.
- Education deals worth more than £550 million and creating 800 jobs in the UK, including the opening of 20 nurseries by Staffordshire-based Busy Bees in China.