International center for UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) to be set up in Sanya

An international center for the UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) is to be set up in Sanya City, Hainan, local authorities announced this week.

The UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network, or ASPNet for short, is a programme established in 1953 to encourage schools worldwide to educate students on issues related to UNESCO's "overarching goal of promoting peace and international understanding". As of 2008, it includes nearly eight thousand educational institutions in over 170 countries. ASPnet schools conduct their own projects, often linking with schools from other countries, or may become involved in a UNESCO-coordinated activity, such as the "World Heritage in Young Hands" project.

According to Li Yuenan, deputy director of the provincial educational department, "Building the center is an important measure to further open the educational field of the country, as well as to improve the internationalisation of education in Hainan,"

The Education Department of Hainan Province said Monday that the construction of the center in Sanya has been approved by UNESCO.

"The province will introduce international or regional organizations to strengthen cooperation between Chinese and foreign institutions, and promote the development of education in the province," Li said.

The UNESCO ASPnet, linking educational institutions across the world, has been recognized as an effective tool for reaching the target for Global Citizenship Education and Education for Sustainable Development.
There are more than 11,500 ASPnet member schools in over 180 countries.

Ten Chinese high schools, scattered in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and Hainan, have joined the network.