Students celebrate graduation in Shanghai. Photo: Yang Hui/GT
Among the 2.51 million Chinese students studying abroad from 2016-19, 2.01 million (80 percent) returned to China after graduating, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Tuesday.
More than 3,000 students have been admitted to 94 Sino-foreign cooperative universities, institutions and programs, which temporarily expanded their enrollments to alleviate the problem that many students were blocked from studying abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the MOE.
The pandemic is “a great test for the opening of education,” Liu Jin, director of MOE’s Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges, said during a press conference on Tuesday.
The ongoing pandemic not only puts a “pause button” on normal educational cooperation exchanges, but also poses severe challenges to the health, life and study of students and teachers moving between different countries, Liu said.
Tang Qitao, an 18-year-old freshman from the Wenzhou-based Wenzhou-Kean University, is one of the students accepted this September by the university via its temporary enrollment plan.
“I found the study mode and campus environment are quite good despite the school being located domestically,” Tang told the Global Times, as the university is a Sino-foreign cooperative school which delivers classes in English.
Wang Li, president of Wenzhou-Kean University, said the university has moved 473 courses to its Blackboard platform to meet the needs of both teachers and students.
In November, the sixth Sino-foreign committee conference was held in East China’s Zhejiang Province, with nine Sino-cooperative universities including NYU Shanghai, Duke Kunshan University and the University of Nottingham Ningbo China participating in the meeting to explore future development of the education industry, especially as it faces challenges brought by COVID-19.
By the end of 2020, China will have 2,332 Sino-foreign cooperatively-run schools and projects, of which more than 1,230 are undergraduate-level, said the MOE.
Faced with the epidemic situation, education authorities have made all-out efforts to rise up to the challenge.
On the Chinese mainland, teachers and students from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan island had no infections; the COVID-19 confirmed cases of foreign students studying in China were also declared zero, according to Liu.
Besides, China has standardized the qualification conditions for domestic universities to accept international students, and the quality and evaluation systems have improved in recent years.
Up to 70 countries have included Chinese language in their national education systems, and 25 million people outside China are learning the language, indicating that international Chinese language education has a broad and solid foundation, according to the MOE.