Official: Students overseas to double by 2010

(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-10-17 09:58

The number of Chinese studying abroad is expected to reach 200,000 in 2010, almost double last year's 118,500, a senior official said on Sunday.

Among them, about 10,000 will be State-sponsored students in key areas such as telecommunications, IT, technology and environment. This number would be a 40 per cent increase over the 2005 figure.

Zhang Xinsheng, vice-minister of education, also estimated that in the year 2020 the number of Chinese students overseas would reach 300,000. This would include 20,000 on the State-sponsored Study Abroad Programme.

Figures from the Ministry of Education show that since 1978 about 930,000 Chinese students have left the country to study, and 230,000 of them have returned.

Zhang described this particular group of students as "the country's great treasure," as they have brought back advanced technology and management skills, as well as a global outlook.

Zhang also said that China would further promote the learning of the Chinese language around the world.

"We hope that in 2020 the number of foreigners studying Chinese can be twice the existing 30 million," he said on Sunday at the 25th anniversary celebration of China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) in Beijing.

Instead of going abroad for graduate studies, more Chinese students are opting to go to foreign universities for undergraduate studies, experts said.

"It can be foreseen that the number of students taking undergraduate courses overseas will steadily increase, "said Zong Wa, director of China Centre for International Educational Exchange under the CEAIE.

Cai Minzhi, a school student in Beijing who was visiting the 2006 China Education Expo over the weekend, said she wants to go to the United States to study after she graduates from middle school next year.

"Compared with Chinese universities, foreign schools can provide better education," her father Cai Lin said, adding that with a growing household income, the family are able to afford the tuition.

"What we value is not the diploma, but the experience of studying and living abroad," he said.