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Overseas boarding schools woo China
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A group of 72 well-known boarding schools from the United States, Switzerland and Canada jointly hosted an Education Fair especially for Chinese students here Friday.

Sarah Rowland, representative of The Association of Boarding School (TABS) based in the United States, said that more Chinese families are capable and willing to send their children abroad for study, as a result of China's fast growing economy and the country's integration into the global market.

TABS statistics revealed that only about 60 Chinese students in Shanghai's middle and primary schools had applied to study abroad in 1997. Since 2001, the figure had grown by more than 1,500 students annually. "The increase in the number of middle and primary school students studying abroad is a reflection of the will of parents who hope their children to enroll in elite universties in Europe and the United States, said Wu Jinhua, an official with a Beijing-based center for international education.

Among the visiting schools are such established institutes as St. Margaret's School, The Webb Schools and The Trinity-Pauling School, among others. The types of schools vary between single-sex and co-education.

There are more than 110,000 secondary education schools in the United States, including 350 boarding schools. There are around 20 million registered students in the country, including about 90,000 in boarding schools.

"International students are strictly selected and children should undergo an admission in addition to the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT)," said Aimee Gruber, a representative of the SSAT Center.

However, many Chinese education experts object to sending children overseas for study at middle school age as cases are frequently reported that the students cannot live independently and many get homesick and even suffer psychological problems.

China is one of the stops on the boarding schools' Asian tour. The TABS will hold two fairs respectively in Beijing and Shanghai.

(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2007)

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