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Knowledge diplomacy as an actual trend in exporting educational services

Internationalization of education and educational services export are the leading trends in the field of higher education at the national and supranational levels. Modern educational services have become a kind of information product that states offer on the market. In this sense, the ability of an educational institution to ensure their high level and respond instantly to market changes is a factor of its competitiveness. Today, states have developed a wide range of tools to attract foreign students. Approaches to practical implementation unfold in three planes: bilateral dimension of educational relations, multilateral or network educational resources, and a global educational space. The triggering mechanism is the motivation to get an education abroad. According to the surveys of specialists from different countries, a significant share of foreign students in universities around the globe are Chinese students. In this regard, the study of the motivation of Chinese students to go abroad for higher education gives a certain picture of attitudes.

There are a number of main factors affecting the motivation of studying abroad. One of the reasons for the growing dynamics of studying abroad is the changing structure of income of families and the economic development of Chinese territories. Residents have more and more opportunities to finance education of their children abroad. Of crucial issue for Chinese students when choosing education abroad is scientific reputation of a university.

An important role is played by the interest in learning a foreign language, mainly English. Even regardless that more and more parents encourage children to learn English from early childhood. Proficiency in English is an essential factor in domestic Chinese competition and career promotion. This determines the popularity of universities in English-speaking countries, with scientific and business professions being of the highest demand.

An important incentive for the Chinese is acquiring foreign life experience, advanced ideas of prestigious schools and an opportunity to expand their own way of thinking. Those who have returned from studying abroad significantly differ from the rest, they are less likely, as they say in China, to be "crushed by the crowd". Not the least is the fact that graduation certificates on a number of specialties are not recognized by foreign universities, thus reducing the competitive ability when choosing a job abroad.

In 2020, for the first time there was a tendency to diversify (redistribute) directions of Chinese students going to study at foreign universities. This is directly or indirectly related to the present changes in US policy towards China in general and Chinese students (graduate students) in particular, including employment and immigration. Some distinctions are seen when analyzing country factors. Thus, Australian universities are very popular due to low admission requirements combined with their high reputation, a comfortable climate, "soft" migration policy that allows to stay in the country after studying. At the same time, there is a growing dynamics of Chinese graduates coming back to China.

As for mere educational trends which have been consolidated and tested in practice, the knowledge diplomacy implemented in the Republic of Korea deserves special attention. Its main objective is to form a positive image of the country in the political and economic fields. Tasks to complete are not limited to knowledge transfer but also envisage their exchange in the field of science and technology.

A specific feature of educational needs in modern society is also their applied nature – the desire of students to obtain the required competencies in a fairly short time and at a high level. Because of this, foreign students are offered training in English. The key principle is the application of separate approaches to different countries and regions. A special place is taken by master's programs whose framework implement a kind of professional improvement and forms a knowledge society on Korean issues.

Knowledge as an asset is used in the bilateral cooperation of states. This approach allows to reveal special educational niches, a kind of intellectual capital of a particular country, which is offered to partners. It is of particular importance in the case of close economic cooperation, interdependence of individual industries. The reverse side of the development of such educational vector is the consolidation of the country's image as of an expert, which is beyond the bilateral format.

In this context, the project of Ukraine and China launched in summer 2021, is of interest. It meets the requirements of time, including the forced activation of the distance learning. The alliance of Ukrainian and Chinese universities is aimed at sharing experience and best practices in the context of the creation and operation of digital educational platforms for distance learning in terms of the pandemics.

Today, all countries to this or that extent have come to understand that the speed of introducing new technologies into production process has increased so much that creating adapted programs alone is tough.

Major adjustments to the process of economic interdependence has been made by globalization. The desire of states to develop integration in the field of education is becoming an international trend. Of particular interest are the initiatives of states seeking to include national specifics as much as possible in global trends. As an example, we may consider the proposal of the Central Asian countries to develop scientific diplomacy and cooperation in the field of education for the region states voiced at the consultative meeting of the heads of states. It is anticipated that this will facilitate strengthening cultural and humanitarian cooperation through creating common educational space, with mutual recognition of diplomas.

In addition, the scientific community of the Central Asian countries discussed the formation of a single educational space. The main directions of inter-university cooperation, according to experts, are the attraction of foreign citizens, academic mobility, cooperation in implementing international programs and projects, interaction within network universities (SCO, etc.). These are precisely the priority areas that determine the effectiveness of managing the international activities of an educational institution and meet modern requirements.

The expertise of foreign countries is of interest to Belarus. The combination of different approaches is an actual trend in the educational sphere. The diplomacy of knowledge expands the boundaries of educational cooperation, while combining national component and innovation. It is obvious that network formats of cooperation in the educational sphere will be most effective.

It is very critical, while maintaining a general systematic approach to the export of educational services, to retain the country and regional specifications.

The motivation for choosing a foreign university by students is based on three key elements, such as learning a foreign language (mainly English), obtaining a demanded specialty, university and qualification prestige.

The strategic nature of Belarus-China relations may use this paradigm to expand the export of domestic educational services. Efforts should be aimed at increasing the symbolic capital of Belarusian universities at the expense of popular specialties (economics, medicine, music) and the competitiveness of future graduates (teaching in English).

The Belarusian economy is involved in regional economic models, that is why integration into educational space of the region is also vital.

The Belarusian initiative of the "Eurasian component" in educational route meets the paradigm of knowledge diplomacy. Taking into account the systemic turn to Asia, the priority areas are to form the image of the country, especially its investment attractiveness, to consolidate a niche segment in the educational services of the Eurasian space.