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Zamir Ahmed Awan: Chinese universities a big draw for foreign students

Wednesday,Dec 12, 2018

By Zamir Ahmed Awan, a senior fellow with Center for China and Globalization(CCG)

China offers thousands of scholarships to students in developing countries. It is part of Chinese strategy of reform and opening-up Almost all well-known universities are open to foreign students in all parts of the country. The number of foreign students has grown into thousands and this trend is set to increase year to year.

On the one hand, Chinese universities are rising in international rankings. Just two decades ago, there was no Chinese university among top 500 universities in the world. But today there are dozens. This happened due to the wise decision of the government which prioritized the education sector. During the initial stage of reform and opening-up, Chinese government sent millions of its students to developed world, to the top universities, and developed a highly qualified workforce. On their return, they introduced modern approach to education, research and innovation. Chinese economy was booming and funds were not a problem. Students returning from abroad were provided abundance of funds to reform the educational system. Research culture was promoted. Research infrastructure was developed. The government has established state-of-the-art laboratories throughout the country. Researchers were provided additional incentives, such as promotions, reward for extraordinary research output, etc. As a result, China gained momentum in science, technology and innovation and now enjoys a high status in developed countries. The number of indexed publications and patents from China has increased exponentially.

On the other hand, West is closing its doors to developing countries for education. West is imposing stricter visa restrictions and social barriers are being created for foreign students. Due to declining economy, the cost of life and education has become rather unaffordable. Racism is one of the biggest hurdles for foreign students in West.

Due to globalization and opening-up, more foreign students are opting for China as it is a best destination of education. The cost of living and educational expenses are comparatively less in China and Chinese society is stable and friendly. All these elements encourage foreign students.

China has become major source of human resource development for most of developing countries and at the same time, it helps Chinese strategy of internationalization and globalization. China gains more political goodwill in the developing countries through such students. It is natural that, whoever studies in China for few years, will develop a soft corner for it and may serve as a goodwill ambassador of China in his/her own country after returning to home country.

Chinese government scholarship is most attractive, but there are many other scholarships offered by local governments and universities. Chinese Academy of Sciences also offers attractive scholarships. Some universities have already announced scholarships procedures and people from all over the world are applying for them. This process may go on until March-April. In June-July, the scholarships are awarded and classes start in September.

All interested students are encouraged to find the leading universities and apply for admission/scholarships as per the requirements of the respective university. Most important factor to keep in mind is the deadline. It is recommended to keep in touch via e-mail with several universities as scholarships are always limited and competitive. There is no guarantee that even if you meet all the requirements, the university will grant scholarship. The competition is growing as the number of applicants is much more than the number of available scholarships.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is moving on its fast track and there is growing demand to learn Chinese language, culture, economy, etc. It is expected this year even more students will apply to Chinese universities. It is desired that considering demand and reputation of Pakistan, Chinese government may also increase quota of scholarships for Pakistan. In fact "China graduates are the guarantors of success of CPEC".

About Author 

Zamir Ahmed Awan is a senior fellow with Center for China and Globalization(CCG) and a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology.
From China Daily,2018-12-12
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