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Universities look abroad to keep talent at home

By Lu Chen (Global Times)

09:55, August 27, 2012

Shanghai universities want to keep more talented university students at home by offering them opportunities to receive a foreign education in the city, local university administrators said at an education forum Sunday.

The number of Chinese students who went abroad to study grew 23 percent year-on-year in 2011, raising concerns that China is losing more and more of its most talented students, said Lu Fang, vice president of Fudan University. Moreover, local universities are facing growing competition from overseas educational institutions to attract top Chinese students.

Of those students who intended to pursue a higher education abroad, 73 percent wanted to go to the US, according to a survey of 250 students from 47 middle schools across the city that was released at the forum. However, about 20 percent of respondents were willing to attend intuitions such as New York University Shanghai, whose campus in the Lujiazui financial zone in Pudong New Area is now under construction.

One way to increase the competitiveness of local universities is to create more international programs, or to have institutions like New York University's campus in Shanghai, which can offer domestic students an international education at a lower cost, said Wang Hongcai, a professor specialized in education research at Xiamen University.

The campus is the joint endeavor of East China Normal University and New York University. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2014. "New York University aims to be a global university as it has set up satellite campuses in London and Paris. The Shanghai campus is trying to fit into that global education network and give students a multi-cultural experience by studying with classmates from all over the world," Yu Lizhong, president of New York University Shanghai, said at the forum.

Over the next year, the campus will recruit 300 undergraduate students, 51 percent of whom will be from the Chinese mainland, Yu said.

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