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High schools let students 'study overseas without going abroad'

By Zhao Xinying | China Daily | Updated: 2014-10-23 07:56

Attending international departments of Chinese high schools, which education specialists and insiders have called "study overseas without going abroad", has become increasingly popular among Chinese students in recent years.

At least one-third of public high schools in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai have launched their own international departments, which are separated from the domestic departments and offer international courses to students preparing for study overseas after they graduate, said Chen Zhiwen, editor-in-chief of, a Chinese portal website on education.

Chen made the remarks in Beijing on Wednesday during a forum about studying overseas at an early age.

He also said that 2 to 5 percent of all students choose to study at international departments, and the proportion may grow in the future.

A report conducted by this year showed that by 2013, 22 public high schools in Beijing had gained admission from education authorities and established international departments, recruiting a total of 1,355 students. In 2009, only six public schools were allowed to do so, with 440 students being recruited.

Attending international departments at public high schools, or even international schools, has become a popular and effective way for Chinese students to prepare for their academic life overseas before heading abroad.

"By enjoying an education system that combines both Chinese culture and foreign courses, students who attend international departments or schools usually adapt to life and study overseas better and faster," said Wang Hongjun, director of the international department of Beijing No 35 High School.

Ding Wei, general manager of the immigration business department of JJL Immigration and the father of a 6-year-old boy, said: "If I want to send my son to study abroad in the future, I will first send him to an international department of a domestic school to prepare him."

However, Allen Jiang, North Asia regional director of IDP Education Pty Ltd, an Australia-based service agency for overseas study, sees such a trend as a new phenomenon in China with risks and uncertainties.

"The limited scale of students of international departments of public schools usually means that their students are a minority at school. In that sense, students usually cannot experience full engagement or interaction with their peers, which is not good for their growth," Jiang said.


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