A proposal to tighten admission standards for international students in China has gained support among Chinese netizens. However, experts noted that China is making certain strategic adjustments in the enrollment of international students.
The proposal was made by Gao Yanming, Chairman of Hebei Ocean Shipping Company in Hebei Province and also a member of the National Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
Gao proposed that all international students should meet the required credits for admission with the exception of those funded by foreign governments, who can have lower admission scores. Chinese universities should not blindly pursue a quota of enrolled students while ignoring the quality of students, compromising the reputation of national academia and breaching education rights. He also highlighted the need to standardize and optimize the scholarship policy for international students in China.
The hashtag, “proposal for raising the admission standards for international students in China,” has gained 140 million views on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo as of Sunday. Many Chinese netizens shared their support to the proposal saying that “international students and domestic students should be treated equally.”
Sophia Ning, a professional in the international education industry based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday that she was in favor of the proposal because some Chinese parents spend large sums of money overseas to help their children get foreign citizenship, so that they can go to top universities in China by taking advantage of the policy loopholes.
However, some Chinese experts said the proposal is not “professional” as Chinese universities are making certain strategic adjustments in enrolling international students.
Li Jinliang, director of the International Cooperation and Exchange Office at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that some universities, including Tsinghua University, have changed their admissions requirements, from paper-based exams to the submission of a personal statement online since 2016. The reform has improved the quality of international students.
“Now China has certain advantage and competitiveness in enrolling international students, including some attractive scholarships, but it is still in an earlier stage compared with some developed countries,” said Li.
According to data from the Ministry of Education of China, a total of 492,185 foreign students, from 196 countries and regions, attended 1,004 higher education institutionsin the Chinese mainland in 2018, an increase of 3,013 studentsover 2017.
Some observers told the Global Times that the number will show an increasing trend in the following years when the COVID-19 global pandemic is getting over.