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Chinese Universities to Enroll More Foreign Students
While many Chinese students are busy applying to study in foreign universities, education officials in China are vowing to provide better services for a growing number of foreign students pursuing higher education in China.   

This situation is learned from sources at a meeting held recently in Tianjin, a northern port municipality.

Statistics available show that some 62,000 foreign students enrolled by over 360 Chinese colleges and universities last year, majoring in not only the traditional fields of language, Chinese medicine and opera but a wider range of disciplines including the humanities, engineering and sports.

Cao Guoxing, director of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchange under the Ministry of Education (MOE), said the new trend reflects improvement of the quality of education services in China.

In nearly 30 years following the founding of new China in 1949,only some 50,000 students from overseas came to study in China, less than the current yearly total.

In 2001, thousands of foreigners applied to China's prestigious Beijing University, whose acceptance rate is 10 percent. At present, more than 1,500 overseas students are studying in the top Tianjin University and Nankai University, both in Tianjin municipality, which are able to cater to an even larger overseas student body.

Around 20 percent of leading colleges and university students worldwide are international. The percentage of international students is a widely-used standard to evaluate the educational quality and international fame of a particular higher education institution.

While Chinese universities are striving to draw more foreign students, governments at all levels are also lending a helping hand to realize this ambition by funding the overseas training of talented Chinese teachers and carrying out a publicity drive for leading Chinese schools.

Statistics show that the largest group of overseas students currently studying in China is from the Republic of Korea, with their Japanese and American counterparts ranking second and third.

An Institute of International Education report released on Monday showed that China was the 10th most popular destination for US students going to study abroad, and the third most popular non-Western nation.

At present, the number of overseas students studying in Beijing totals 23,000. Other popular choices include east China's Shanghai municipality and its neighboring Jiangsu Province, and the number of foreign students they have enrolled in their colleges and universities amounts to 9,100 and 4,150 respectively.

A MOE official said that in order to attract more overseas students, China's education administration is considering expanding the scholarship amount and enlarging the scope of fellowships and scholarships provided to foreign students.

Meanwhile, Chinese colleges and universities are encouraged to provide financial aid or join hands with the private sector in issuing scholarships, fellowships and other forms of financial assistance to outstanding foreign students.

In 2001, some 2,100 foreign students filed applications for scholarships awarded by the Chinese government.

Education administrations at various levels have also pledged to better regulate the Chinese international education market.

(Xinhua News Agency November 21, 2002)

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