China's Ministry of Education on Wednesday pledged higher standards for Chinese undergraduate pharmacy degree courses offered to foreign students.
Some Chinese colleges have begun to offer degree programs in English to prospective pharmacists from overseas in order to meet the surging demand.
However, the teaching standard is low.
"Some colleges have only expanded foreign student enrollment in order to gain economic benefits without improving their teaching methods. Some colleges have even lowered their admission requirements into the courses and they even never check the candidates' English competency," said a ministry statement.
"This kind of behavior has damaged China's reputation in higher education establishments and it should be controlled," the statement said.
The report stated that schools receiving foreign students applicants in pharmaceutical studies degree programs should devise special departments that would draw up teaching plans, supervise and evaluate teachers.
English courses in particular should be stringently supervised. Foreign student enrollment in these colleges should be carefully monitored, according to the report.
Foreigners applying for these courses taught in English would be required to hold senior middle school certificates or above as well as relatively high communication skills in English, the report stipulated.
The ministry said that it had set up a team of experts. They would examine the schools and courses annually and decide how many students the school should enroll the following year.
For the upcoming school year, the expert team has announced that 30 schools are currently qualified to give pharmacy courses in English on the MOE Web site.
(Xinhua News Agency July 26, 2007)