Universities make grade with foreigners

09:33, April 21, 2010      

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College staff were dealing with foreign students' registration forms in Beijing.(Xinhua Filephoto)

Beijing is expected to receive a record 80,000 foreign students this year, thanks to the improved quality of educational opportunities, rather than preferential admissions policies.

An official from Beijing Education Commission said the capital will host 9,000 more foreign students than last year.

The Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication (BIGC) and four other universities were recently ratified by the commission to open to foreign students.

They are among a total 176 educational organizations - including primary, middle and high schools and universities - eligible to accept foreign students, Beijing Daily reported.

The official said Chinese language is not necessarily the most-selected major when it comes to university applications; Chinese culture, Chinese history and economics are also gaining in popularity, according to the newspaper.

Zhang Zhicheng, director of the department of international cooperation and exchange at BIGC, told METRO all of the university's 20 or so undergraduate and postgraduate majors will enroll foreign students.

The school, which plans to recruit 40 foreigners this year, has received applications from students in Nepal and Mongolia.

"We want to develop the school into an internationalized university and have many students from all over the world to create an international campus culture," Zhang said.

Three types of scholarships are provided, including tuition and accommodation fee waivers, tuition waivers and half-tuition exemptions.

Scholarship will be awarded in accordance with scores on the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK), and a student's overall educational history, he said.

Annual tuition varies from 20,000 to 24,000 yuan, depending on the major.

Most foreigners will study with their Chinese counterparts in the same class. Both Chinese and English will be used in the classrooms.

If more than 10 people apply in majors such as printing and packaging, a specialty of the university, the school will open a separate class for foreigners only.

Although Beijing has taken measures to attract foreign students, educators believe offering a top-notch education is the real key to attracting high-quality students.

Chu Zhaoyang, a research fellow at the China National Institute for Educational Research, told METRO the threshold for foreigners to apply for schools in Beijing is very low. Therefore, the number of students is on the rise, but not the quality of the students.

In contrast, many Chinese graduates who go abroad to continue their studies hail from China's top universities.

"Most foreign students are only interested in cultural-based subjects such as Chinese language and traditional Chinese medicine, and they only stay in Beijing for short-term training," Chu said.

"Only if the education quality is improved will more and better students come to Beijing," he said.

Source: China Daily


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