lundi 2 février 2015

Foreign universities in China

Foreign universities in China

China: high-standard education is crucial for the country

According to official statistics, some 1.27 million Chinese students are currently studying abroad including the universities of the US, England and other European countries. Such an interest is explained by high-standards, which these countries offer in education. Due to China's rapid development, a number of middle-class families is rapidly shrinking every year. These families have an opportunity and usually a desire to invest in their children. As a result, European and American universities stand as a first choice for higher(or college) education. An increasing demand for high-standard institutions facilitates development of relationship between China and foreign countries in this area. It may take different forms including student exchange, joint research, joint programs, joint degrees, setting up a educational institution branch in a foreign country, and many others.

A number of partnerships between Chinese and foreign universities is increasing each year

Since such an interest has emerged, there have been few initiatives, designed to facilitate foreign university (or college) education on the territory of China. For example, London School of Economics and Peking University currently have a 2-weeks summer program, which introduce students to various areas of economics and politics. Courses itself take place in Beijing, although professors, a final certificate and academic syllabus are joint attempts of both universities. Another great opportunity, became available for Chinese students, is the initiative of Oxford International College, which opens two branches in Chengdu and Changzhou in 2014. Both branches offer full British curriculum and foreign exchange opportunities. The campuses have excellent learning and sports facilities as well as green areas and high level security.

Foreign professors: plagiarism and cheating are major problems among Chinese students

However, it is crucial to recognise some difficulties, which foreign institutions come across, when they attempt to enter Chinese educational industry. The main challenges, highlighted by foreign professors and researchers working in China, were plagiarism, cheating and politically sensitive topics. These lead to some partnerships to break up, including Yale University-Peking University. The major reasons were those highlighted above. After the program was launched, Stephen Stearns, a visiting member of Yale University, commented: “When a student I am teaching steals words and ideas from an author without acknowledgment, I feel cheated...I ask myself, why should I teach people who knowingly deceive me?” He suspected that such practices were not discouraged by Chinese academics, thus resulting in massive plagiarism by Chinese students. Another major problem, which European academics come up with in China, is the limitation of topic, which can be discussed and included in the syllabus. Such politically sensitive topics are population-control policies or the use of executed prisoners as organ donors for transplants. However, Dali Yang, who heads a research and conference centre in Beijing run by the University of Chicago, advices to be understanding to it: “They have good judgment and know to be respectful of what goes on here. That doesn’t mean they have to shut up, but they know it won’t go well if they go so far that Chinese counterparts won’t be able to participate”.

Regardless unsuccessful experience of Yale-Peking universities, Chinese officials strongly encourage the presence of European educational institutions in China. They believe that it will prevent smart student from leaving the country as well as allow Chinese higher education to improve and develop.

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