In 2020 which country will enroll more international students?
“They gave their exits and their entrances”
Could it be that this quote from the great bard will apply to the exit of the U.S. and the U.K. as the leading importers of international students and the entrance of China as their replacement?
Heresy? Iconoclastic? Maybe not.
Let’s examine some facts.
In 2017 China ranked third, after the U.S. and the U.K., in the number of international students studying in China. According to a report published by the Center for China and Globalization, a major Chinese think tank, China enrolled approximately 443,000 international students in 2016 and has set a goal of enrolling 500,000 by 2020. China could easily reach that goal this year, two years ahead of schedule.
China’s US $5 trillion investment in the One Belt One Road program is laying the groundwork for China to create a future network of students to enroll in Chinese universities, to set up exchange programs and research collaborations and establish branch campuses in Belt and Road countries.
China’s Belt and Road initiative provides scholarships for students from the 65 countries along the famous Silk Road. Of the top 15 countries enrolling in China, 10 were students from Belt and Road countries and a total of 10,000 scholarships are available to students from Belt and Road countries.
Last year, the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs, issued a circular on establishing a nationwide system to grant easier approval for foreigners to work in China and students to remain in China to work after graduation.
China’s Asian Universities Alliance will strengthen collaborations in both Southeast Asia and Africa. An estimated 80,000 students studying in China are from Southeast Asian countries. The majority of these students have received scholarships to study in China. Many Southeast Asian students regard a degree earned in China as leading to better job prospects after graduation.
Contrast these initiatives with recent higher education regulations from both the U.S. and the U.K. that reflect a narrow provincialism focusing on tighter borders, less funding and a generally unwelcoming atmosphere.
Has China’s time come to dominate the world stage, including higher education? Is the U.S. and the U.K.’s dominance both in world affairs and higher education over? “They have their exits and their entrances.”