The plan to tighten admission requirements for international students in China has received support from Chinese netizens. However, analysts have noticed that China is making some strategic changes to the enrolment of international students.
The suggestion was made by Gao Yanming, Chairman of the Hebei Ocean Shipping Company in Hebei Province and also a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee (CPPCC).
Gao recommended that all international students meet the requisite admission credits, except those sponsored by foreign governments with lower admission scores. Chinese universities do not arbitrarily follow a quota of enrolled students while denying their students’ content, undermining the prestige of their national academies and violating their educational rights. He also emphasised the need to standardise and refine the policy on scholarships for international students in China.
The hashtag, the “proposal to raise admission requirements for foreign students in China,” has received 140 million views on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Sunday. Many Chinese netizens expressed their support for the idea that “foreign students and domestic students should be handled fairly.”
“International students could live in their own private space while we were squeezing in the student dorm where we had to share a bed with six to eight students,” one college student complained to Weibo.
Sophia Ning, an international education specialist, based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday that she was in support of the plan because some Chinese parents pay vast amounts of money overseas to help their children gain foreign citizenship so that they can go to the best universities in China by taking advantage of the policy gaps.
Zhou Xin, an employee at the Immigration Services Firm, told the Global Times that some of her clients are investing in getting a green card in Europe so that their children can go to China’s top universities with a ranking of just 300 to 400 points in Gaokao, China’s college entrance test, as international students.
However, some Chinese academics have argued that the plan is not “professional” because Chinese universities are making some strategic changes to foreign students’ enrollment.
Li Jinliang, Director of the International Cooperation and Exchange Office at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that several universities, including Tsinghua University, have modified their entry criteria from paper-based examinations to online submissions since 2016. The reform increased the quality of international students.
“Now China has some benefit and competition in enrolling foreign students, including some lucrative scholarships, but it is still at an earlier stage than some developing countries,” Li said.
As per data from China’s Ministry of Education, a total of 492,185 international students from 196 countries and regions attended 1,004 higher education institutions in the Chinese mainland in 2018, a rise of 3,013 students over 2017.