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ERIC Number: EJ992224
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Aug-13
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
China Rolls Out the Welcome Mat for Foreign Students
Hennock, Mary
Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug 2012
Renmin University of China's summer school, now in its fourth year, is one of the most ambitious efforts so far to meet China's goal of bringing half a million foreign students to its shores by 2020. To reach the bold target, the Ministry of Education is pouring money into colleges to establish programs friendly to Americans and other international students. Traditionally, China has attracted two types of foreign students: (1) the committed Mandarin-learners who want professional-level skills; and (2) students from developing countries who want better bachelor's and master's programs than the ones offered back home. Now China is looking to attract a broader swath of international students. Programs like Renmin's are key to that strategy. The summer school mixes domestic and international students and faculty members, and classes are taught in English. The courses also last only a few weeks, which is a popular feature for many foreign students. Short academic programs accounted for more than half of China's foreign enrollments last year. Whether China can actually increase the number of international students it attracts by more than 70 percent--293,00 foreigners studied in China last year--remains to be seen. With improvements to university facilities in recent years, once-frequent complaints by foreigners about doorless squat toilets, a lack of hot water, and bare concrete dorms have subsided. But concerns about more intangible issues, like the quality of teaching, have arisen. And the stakes are high for China. In the same way the Beijing Olympics propelled refurbishment and expansion of the entire city's infrastructure, China's educational planners view better English-taught courses for foreign students as a lever to internationalize university campuses. Ultimately, they hope the programs will help improve the international standing of the country's higher-education system. The 500,000-student target is part of a package of higher-education reforms that includes inviting overseas universities to open China campuses, attracting foreign academics as visiting scholars, enticing Chinese educated in the United States to return, and coordinating more research with top-ranked universities overseas. Study-abroad programs are awash with public money, mostly channelled through universities, which get a subsidy per student for opening new programs.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China; China (Beijing)