Interpreting the Future of Education | ‘East Meets West’

Interpreting the Future of Education | ‘East Meets West’

From 17 to 25 April, Wellington College China Festival of Education returned to our Tianjin, Shanghai and Hangzhou campuses for a fifth time, and it was an immense success. Educational experts from around the world gathered together to explore and interpret the future of education.


Scan QR code to view the full video of Ms Joy Qiao’s speech at Wellington College China’s Fifth Annual Festival of Education.



Ms Joy Qiao, Founder and Chairman of Wellington College China, delivered a speech at the Festival titled ‘East Meets West’. In it, she shared her experiences studying and living in China and the UK and founding Wellington College China.


Ms Qiao’s studies at Tsinghua and Oxford Universities gave her a unique insight into the respective advantages of both countries’ education systems. Being in a cross-cultural marriage, Ms Qiao has also  seen the impact bilingual education has had on her children’s growth and communication within her family. Both experiences ultimately inspired her to found a school that would integrate the best elements of the British and Chinese education systems.


The success of this education model can be seen in Wellington’s academic results and university acceptances. In 2020, nearly 40% of our Leavers entered the world’s top 10 universities. Our Tianjin A level pupils achieved 74% A*/A scores, and our Shanghai IB pupils achieved an average point score of 38.5. In 2021, several Leavers have received offers from Oxford, Cambridge and Ivy League universities as well as the world’s top art schools.

But academic accolades and acceptance letters tell only part of the story. Ms Qiao shared in her speech how she has witnessed first-hand the positive impact of a Wellington education has had on her own children. They have developed the self-awareness and motivation necessary to pursue lifelong learning and personal fulfilment. Their years at Wellington have been a character-building experience. They have a capacity for independent thought and understand the value of responsibility. They embody the growth and development of all Wellington pupils, she explained. These are some of the founding principles of Wellington College China, and it gives Ms Qiao immense pride to see this vision being realised.

In her speech, Ms Qiao also discussed the strong emphasis that Wellington schools place on Chinese education. Indeed, Chinese language and culture are integral parts of the Wellington curriculum and are taught by native speakers to all grades and year groups. 


But Ms Qiao saw international schools only as a starting point. In her effort to help more Chinese pupils strengthen their language skills, she founded Huili, Wellington’s bilingual education brand.

Admitting only Chinese nationals, Huili schools are committed to delivering the world’s best immersive bilingual education. The brand combines the best elements of a Wellington education and produces graduates who are fluent in both Chinese and English. Through Huili’s bilingual curriculum, pupils learn to think deeply in both languages while cultivating a strong sense of their Chinese identity. The ultimate objective is to help pupils develop the skills to thrive in an increasingly globalised world. They will be able work and live abroad confidently and competently. When they return to China, they will contribute steadfastly to the nation’s prosperity. China, after all, is a country brimming with opportunities.  


Ms Qiao also pointed out that the most challenging — but rewarding — part of creating an immersive bilingual school is facilitating collaboration between Chinese and international teachers. It requires a lot of hard work, cross-cultural understanding and effective communication across teams. This synergy ultimately translates into an engaging, interdisciplinary, bilingual curriculum that will inspire our pupils to become global citizens. As China ascends to the world stage, this is more important than ever. Looking ahead, there will be a growing need for confident, curious and tolerant people who can help build bridges between China and the rest of the world.



In addition to helping Chinese pupils enter the world’s top universities, Huili also hopes to help top Chinese schools like Peking, Tsinghua, Fudan and Shanghai Jiao Tong University acquire international talents. Looking ahead, Huili plans to expand abroad, establishing schools in major international cities such as Sydney, Toronto, New York, San Francisco and London. When they return to their home countries after graduation, these pupils will help to build stronger economic and cultural ties between China and the rest of the world.  

Ms Qiao concluded her speech by citing one of her favourite films, East Meets West. In the film, Mr Yiqi Mei, the late president of Tsinghua University says to his students, “People often bury themselves in many mundane duties. That gives them a numbing sense of purpose but somehow disconnects them from the ‘truth’. The ‘truth’ encompasses what is seen and heard, what is done and with whom. It gives us an overflowing sense of joy and peacefulness, leaving us with no remorse or regrets.”


To that, Ms Qiao added, 

The biggest happiness in my life is that I’ve found my ‘truth’. If Wellington College China can help our pupils find theirs, then I can proudly say to myself that I have no regrets about my youth.


Scan QR code to view the full video of Ms Joy Qiao’s speech at Wellington College China’s Fifth Annual Festival of Education.





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