From 1978 to the end of last year, the total number of Chinese students studying abroad reached 1.3915 million.
Zhang Xiuqin, Director General for the Department of International Cooperation and Exchange under the Ministry of Education, said that since reform and opening-up (1978) to the end of 2008, nearly 390,000 students returned to China after their studies abroad.
While 77.7 percent of the presidents of higher education institutions under the Ministry of Education, 84 percent of the academicians at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 75 percent of the academicians at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and 62 percent of doctoral advisors have had experience studying abroad.
"A record high of 179,800 students went abroad for overseas studies last year. Of them, 161,600 paid for their own schooling, accounting for 90 percent of the total." Zhang said.
"A new pattern has formed, in which, the government plays a leading role in sponsoring overseas studies and an overwhelming majority of students pay for their own schooling."
"In 2008, a total of 69,300 students returned to China, and over 98 percent of the government-sponsored students have come," Zhang added.
Liu Jinghui, Secretary General of the China Scholarship Council (CSC), disclosed that 12,957 students were selected last year for the government-sponsored overseas study program.
China has also become a favorite country for foreign students.
Zhang said that the number of foreign students coming to study in China exceeded 200,000 for the first time last year, with the number of students from Korea, the United States and Japan ranking the top three.
Last year, 223,000 students from 189 countries and regions came to study in China, an increase of 27,996 compared with 2007. In the 60 years since 1949, China has received a total of 1.46 million foreign students.
By People's Daily Online