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Bid to attract foreign students gears up
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An American student of Nankai University paints "I love Tianjin" on a piece of paper together with primary school pupils in the municipality last month, as part of an event to show support for the coming Beijing Olympics. 

The country is pushing ahead in its efforts to become a leading destination for international students, riding on the wave of a growing number of foreigners coming to study in recent years.

This year alone, the authorities will increase the amount of scholarships for foreign students - a group that grows by 3,000 people every year - to attract more of those coming for advanced degrees and study, China Daily learned from the Ministry of Education in a recent interview.

The government has earmarked 500 million yuan ($71 million) for the scholarships this year, up 40 percent from that of last year.

The grants will provide each student free education and accommodation, plus a monthly bonus of 800 to 1,400 yuan, the ministry said.

The move comes on the back of a rising number of foreigners educated in the country.

Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Masimov is one such student.

Masimov was also awarded an honorary doctorate and named an "outstanding alumnus" by his alma mater, Wuhan University in Hubei province, on April 10 during his official visit to China.

"I was deeply touched by the city's beautiful scenery and the professors' earnest attitude toward scholarship," said Masimov, who studied in the university's law school between 1989 and 1991 when he was in his twenties.

The number of foreign students studying in China reached a record of more than 195,000 last year, up 20 percent year on year, latest figures from the ministry showed.

"With a good social environment, fast economic development and rising international stature, China has become more and more attractive to foreign students in recent years," said Zhao Lingshan, the ministry's official in charge of foreign students' study in China.

"The country's improved quality of higher education has received worldwide recognition," Zhao said.

China has also signed mutual diploma recognition contracts with 32 countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, New Zealand, Austria and Russia.

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