Quality of Education, Programs Must Be Improved to Attract Talented International Students
China accommodates over 200 times the number of international students back four decades ago. (Photo : Getty Images)
Although statistics indicate that China is the third largest host of international studies, the reality paints a different picture for Fang Jun, deputy director of the Ministry of Education's Department of International Cooperation and Exchange, China Daily reported.
Data from the Ministry of Education stated that there were over 377,000 students from 203 countries in China back in 2014.
According to Fang, the quality of education, sources, and educational structures offered to its international student group must be reviewed and updated in the soonest possible time.
China may have improved a lot in terms of providing education for international students in the past 40 years, but several other issues need to be addressed especially now that China accommodates over 200 times the number of international students back in 1978.
"At present, China mainly relies on its cultural, cost-performance and geographic advantages to attract international students," said Fang in an interview with China Daily. "In the future, the focus should be shifted to improving the quality of education and forging a good reputation to attract more brilliant international students from different countries."
One issue, according to Fang, is the unbalanced number of students in educational programs. Most international students have enrolled in arts-based subjects like Chinese language, while courses in sciences and engineering are populated by a small proportion of the total population.
Another matter is the rate of international students who come to China to pursue higher education. According to China Daily, only 44 percent of international students come to China to study at degree level or higher. Other students only stay for a semester or two, while others opt to enrol in short-term study programs.
Diversity of students is another concern, as most international students in China come to neighboring countries in Asia or Africa.
It's the exact opposite in the United States and the United Kingdom, the top two destinations for international students.
"Efforts need to be made to diversify the sources and types of international students coming to study in China," said Fang.
Meanwhile, Chen Zhiwen, editor of China's largest online education portal EOL, thinks it's understandable why international students come from neighboring countries.
"Looking at the picture across the world, international students have two general directions of mobility--traveling within their own continent, or traveling from underdeveloped and developing countries to developed countries," Chen said. - yibada
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