Chinese students head overseas at younger agesUpdated: 2013-08-02 00:33
Bell believes that there is a general trend toward younger learners studying overseas, and it has restructured its curriculum to meet the needs of students of different ages and ambitions.
Watson said China is a key country for Bell's development because of its economic growth, its international ambitions and its commitment to education.
"We want to build long-lasting strategic partnerships with a range of Chinese organizations, such as schools, universities and private education providers," said Watson.
Students from China are definitely starting their educational journey in the United Kingdom at an earlier age, said Katie Latimer, recruitment and marketing manager of Astrum Education, a London-based education group.
Based on current international student enrollments, their General Certificate of Secondary Education program recruitment for September is significantly up on 2012 figures. GCSE applications from Chinese students have increased by more than 50 percent, she said.
This trend has a positive effect on the overall performance of Chinese students, not only academically, but also from a social and language development perspective, said Latimer.
"The longer an international student is immersed in this sort of environment, the better adjusted they are for their future educational and career journey," she said.
A key benefit of their study experience with Astrum is the opportunity to study alongside British students, to make friends, exchange ideas and improve their language skills to the level demanded by the most prestigious UK universities. Younger students tend to be very adaptable, said Latimer.
However, she said that many parents in China feel that 14-year-olds are too young to be away from home, so their A-Level applications from Chinese students aged 16 years and above remain strong.
Chinese students currently account for about 15 percent of Astrum's overall international student cohort, but the company expects it to rise to about 20 percent for the coming academic year.
Fan of New Oriental said that the growth in the number of applicants from China for a fixed number of schools overseas means mounting difficulty in actually getting into a top school.
"Colleges and middle schools are not going to expand their enrollment only for the Chinese market," said Fan.
"Unless Chinese students lower their expectations about getting into the leading schools, the bar for Chinese applicants will only go higher."