China has become an increasingly popular destination in the Asia-Pacific region for overseas students, a senior official with the Ministry of Education said in Beijing on Friday.
Zhang Xinsheng, vice minister of education, said China was drawing a growing number of students from overseas to study thanks to its stable political environment, rapid economic growth and an increasing international influence.
The teaching quality of higher-learning institutions was improving and receiving greater recognition abroad, Zhang told a forum on the training of human resources.
Since the China Scholarship Council (CSC) was established in 1996, the number of foreign students studying in China funded by the Chinese government Scholarship Programs has gradually increased from 4,000 a year to more than 7,000 in 2005.
So far, CSC has provided scholarship from the Chinese government Scholarship Programs to students from more than 150 countries, according to Zhang.
Meanwhile, the level and quality of international students coming to China also kept improving. In 2005, the number of scholarship students who register in degree programs in Chinese institutions of higher education accounted for 58.5 percent of the total number of international students studying in China.
China has been seizing opportunities to expand new channels for overseas students to study in the country. Since 2003, entrusted by organizations overseas, CSC has begun implementing and administrating scholarship programs for students coming to China funded by foreign governments.
The scholarship programs under the administration of CSC are the Vietnamese Government Funded Scholarship, the Pakistan Government Funded Scholarship Program for Graduate Education, the Thai Government Scholarship and the Tanzanian Government Scholarship, according to CSC.
China welcomed the record number of foreign students with the most diversified countries of origin in 2005.
Statistics from CSC show that 141,000 overseas students from 179 countries and regions came to China to study in 2005, up 27.28 percent from the previous year, including 86,679 to study Putonghua or standard Chinese.
Of the 141,000 overseas students, 75.73 percent came from Asia, 11.67 percent from Europe, 9.37 percent from America, 1.95 percent from Africa, and another 1.28 percent from the Pacific region.
China had received a total of 884,315 foreign students from 1950 to 2005.(Source: Xinhua)