The number of overseas students in China hit a record high of 110,844, of which 6,715 were sponsored by the Chinese government, the rest studying at their own expense, sources with the Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE) said Friday.
According to the MOE statistics, overseas students from 178 countries studied in 420 Chinese colleges and universities nationwide in 2004. The total number of overseas students increased by 42.63 percent over the previous year, and the amplitude was ranked the highest over the past ten years.
A MOE official said China has seen rapid progress in overseas students education thanks to the persistent policies of and specific financial support by the government. As more and more countries have reached agreements with China on mutually recognizing higher education degrees, more foreigners have chosen to study in China, largely because of its economic power and growing international influence. In 2004 alone, the government of Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam gave financial support to more than 200 students to study in China, in a view to cultivate professional personnel for further contact with China.
The official said the number of students from Republic of Korea (ROK) ranked first for a consecutive five years due to the fast growth of China-ROK economic cooperation, which has brought abundant job opportunities.
The Chinese government and schools also have drawn education plans and set up certain scholarships for overseas students. The careful and appropriate arrangements made for overseas students by the Chinese government when Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) hit in 2003 has also encouraged more students from abroad, he said.
Education and life services to overseas students in China has also been improved, said the official. In 2004, the first seven students from Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Pakistan and Japan earned doctoral degrees under the guidance of Chinese academicians.
So far, nearly 20,000 overseas students in China have used the medical insurance especially set up for them by the Chinese government.
(Xinhua News Agency May 22, 2005)