Leng, P. (2014). University linkages and international development assistance: Lessons from the Canada-China Experience. International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, 16(1), 71–89.

Author: - September , 2014


This paper compares two Canada-China university linkage programs, namely the Canada- China Management Education Program (CCMEP) and Canada-China University Linkage Program (CCULP), to examine their historical contribution to the development of Chinese higher education during the 1980s-90s. Two theoretical lenses are employed, world systems theory, and cosmopolitanism. The findings reveal three key differences between the two programs: (1) while the impact of CCMEP was limited to the field of management education, knowledge and skills from CCULP were disseminated in a wide range of areas; (2) unlike CCMEP, which largely achieved institutional goals only, CCULP projects were able to meet the objectives set by participating institutions and the Canadian International Development Agency; and (3) CCMEP projects were more affected by the 1989 Tiananmen event than CCULP projects. In spite of these differences, both programs shared many commonalities and greatly supported the development of Chinese universities, enabling them to contribute significantly to China’s social and economic transformation over the two-decade period following the launch of its open door policy. Based on the history of both programs, the paper concludes with three key recommendations, concerning the significant role of institutional and national agencies, as well as people-to-people relationships in development aid activities.



Dr Chea Phal

Research Fellow

Dr Chea Vatana

Research Associate

HENG Sambath

Research Assistant

KEO Borin, MEc

(On study leave)


Senior Research Fellow

LENG Phirom, PhD

Research Fellow / Unit Head

TEK Muy Tieng

Research Assistant

YOU Saokeo Khantey

Research Associate