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China Acts to Improve Quality of Foreign Students

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China's Ministry of Education will strengthen the policies within its authority to improve the quality of foreign students studying in China, and refine the enrollment standards of key universities towards high-level students to advance the education of foreign students.

Speaking at a conference held in Tianjin Medical University, Sheng Jianxue, vice-general director of The Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges, said:"In 1978 there were only 1,236 foreign students in China; this number grew to over 223,500 in 2008, an increase by a factor of 180 in 30 years."

"The biggest problem is the quality of the students and their educational background," he continued. "Well-qualified students who want to graduate with a degree are rare, and the standard of graduates varies considerably, as there are no national standard final exams. Due to the difficulty in attracting high-level students, local colleges place their emphasis on enrolling language students, and so do major universities. This restricts their ability to attract and develop the best candidates."

The Ministry of Education has defined a series of quality control regulations concerning the education of foreign students studying in China, and has launched a project of editing the text book used for lessons delivered in English.

Sheng stated that the Ministry of Education will guide schools of different levels to enroll different levels of students, and make use of their strengths to establish a form of positive competition. At the same time it will endeavour to raise the proportion of students seeking degrees and reduce the ratio of language students.

(China Development Gateway by Cui Ying, March 31, 2009)