Universities seek greater enrollment from abroad

Updated: 2013-08-26 07:39

By Yang Yang (China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Universities seek greater enrollment from abroad

Kibirango Edwin (left), a student from Uganda, practices Chinese calligraphy with classmates in his dormitory at Jiangsu University in Zhenjiang. Yang Yu / for China Daily

Language barrier

The biggest barrier is linguistic, according to Jarvis. "While Mandarin will, of course, be an important language going forward, the main language for international commerce as well as the adopted language for scholarly engagement in the hard sciences and social sciences will remain English," he said.

Sang Peng, president of the Beijing Overseas-Study Service Association, said, "To my knowledge, about 60 percent of the foreign students come to China to study the language, which is not a common phenomenon compared with other countries, especially the top destinations like the US and the UK."

Jarvis cited other factors influencing student numbers, including academic reputation, university facilities and career opportunities. Moreover, overseas graduates of Chinese universities can expect a lower starting salary than their counterparts with a degree from a US institute, for example.

The holder of an MBA from Harvard can expect to find a job quickly. The annual starting salary is around $120,000 and the promotion prospects are good. They can also expect to work for a major multinational business and experience lots of international travel.

"By contrast, students with a business degree from a well-regarded Chinese university can expect a starting salary of only about one-third to a half of that figure. They will be employed by a Chinese enterprise and will not necessarily be internationally mobile.

Similar differentials can be identified for petroleum engineering graduates. Petroleum engineers graduating from a Chinese university can expect only one-third of the $90,000 annual starting salary expected by engineers from a quality school in the US.

"Graduates from Chinese universities currently do not enjoy these sorts of career options or command the types of salaries that graduates from Western universities enjoy," said Jarvis.

Quality of tuition

Goldstein decided not to apply to a Chinese university because of concerns about the quality of education.

"I know people who got their master's degree in Chinese like any other Chinese student. They take the master's degree courses, but they don't learn anything. Everything they learn comes from their own research and reading," he said.

"Maybe you can just buy a degree, one of those diplomas from famous Chinese universities with your name printed on them. If you take the degree to someone, they might think it is a fake, even if you indeed graduated for real. I know a student who can't speak Chinese, but got an A for Chinese class.