Over one million foreign students went to study in the Chinese mainland in the more than 30 years since the reform and opening up of China, while over 1.6 million students from the Chinese mainland went to other countries and regions for further studies, a senior Chineses official said Friday.
Speaking at the opening of the largest ever education exhibition in Singapore featuring 15 top Chinese universities, China Scholarship Council Deputy Secretary-General Li Jianmin said there were more than 260,000 foreign students in the mainland from over 180 countries and regions in 2010.
The Chinese government has rolled out a program to encourage foreign students to study in China last year, saying that it aimed to have 500,000 foreign students in 2020.
Chinese Ambassador to Singapore Wei Wei said now more than 6, 000 tertiary education institutions in China are allowed to admit foreign students, with 160 of them authorized to hand out government scholarships.
The exhibition on Friday featuring top universities such as the Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, Harbin Institute of Technology and Tianjin University attracted the attention of many on the campus of the National University of Singapore.
"There is strong and growing interest among our students for opportunities to study in China," said Tan Chorh Chuan, president of the National University of Singapore, at the ceremony. "Each year many of our students go to China on student exchanges, internships, summer programs and (other programs)."
The exchange and cooperation between China and Singapore in education is an example of how fast the interest is growing.
There were about 3,600 students from Singapore in China last year, making it the 15th largest source of foreign students.
The exchange and cooperation between the two countries is now growing faster, now that it is 21 years since the two countries established diplomatic ties, said Ambassador Wei Wei, adding that the exhibition in Singapore is aimed to provide a channel for Singapore youths to learn about China's education.