Education Fairs Under Check

State education authorities are considering restricting the number of foreign education fairs to prevent mediocre universities from being promoted by unauthorized hosts motivated only by economic interests, Shanghai Daily has learned.

The state also may regulate Chinese agencies providing overseas study service this year.

"No official regulations curtailing shows of individual countries have been issued by state authorities," said Feng Xu, director of the Shanghai Education Association for International Exchange.

However, at the China International Higher Education Tour organized by the Ministry of Education held over the weekend, Shanghai Daily learned that universities from different foreign countries will be grouped into miscellaneous shows rather than by one country.

Another official said the association was unofficially informed that only British and American universities will be allowed to hold individual shows.

In a related matter, the number of Shanghai secondary school students going abroad to study last year almost doubled the figure a year earlier, due to the efforts of educational agencies - both licensed and unlicensed, industry sources said.

Official statistics are unavailable, "because there are too many outlets to transfer young Shanghainese to study overseas," said Jiang Yanqiao, director of the international exchange department of the Shanghai Education Commission.

Other sources said unlicensed agents are rampant on the market.

The Shanghai Education Association for International Exchange estimated that more than 30 educational agents were operating locally in sending students overseas. Only 14 of them were awarded licenses from the Ministry of Education last April.

The unlicensed agents are in cohorts with their licensed counterparts, paying kickbacks to use their licenses, industry insiders said.

"At least half of the 14 agents are involved," said Fu Chunmiao, an official of the Shanghai Educational Information Center for International Exchange, one of the 14 license holders.

Fu said the center was involved in sending 200 students overseas in 1994, but the number of students fell to fewer than 70 last year.

The Ministry of Education announced it will soon investigate the approximately 60 licensed agencies nationwide, said Wo Shouxin from the China Foreign Study Service Center.

Between 1,500 to 2,000 secondary school students went abroad last year, compared to less than 1,000 in 1999, said Oliver Shao, a deputy manager of a licensed agency, the latest figures from the local authority.

( 02/26/2001)

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Shanghai Leads in English Education



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