China has long been the world’s most important sending market for international students. Indeed, burgeoning Chinese enrolments have driven much of the growth in international student numbers for major study destinations over the past decade. However, that began to slow in 2015 and, while a record-number of Chinese students still went abroad in 2016, the overall growth trend in Chinese outbound mobility has begun to flatten out quite noticeably.
There are profound implications in this for international educators, but it is accompanied as well by a sharply contrasting trend in terms of the number of foreign students that are now enrolled in China. On 1 March, the Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE) released its latest statistics on foreign enrolment in China.
Those figures reveal that China hosted 442,773 international students in 2016, representing an 11.4% increase over the year before. Nearly half (47%) of all international students in China are pursuing undergraduate degrees at Chinese universities. Another 15% are studying toward advanced degrees at the master’s or doctoral levels, and nearly 30% are enrolled in Chinese primary and secondary schools. The ministry indicates that about 40% of foreign students in China are studying the Chinese language at some level.
MOE officials attribute part of 2016’s growth to the country’s expanding One Belt, One Road (OBOR) strategy, a massive international investment and trade development framework focused around traditional Silk Road trade routes between Asia and Europe.
OBOR aims to leverage China’s massive production and financial capacity through new projects and partnerships throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa. The MOE reports that nearly half of China’s foreign enrolment – around 200,000 students in total – now derives from markets targeted through the OBOR framework. Those sending markets also outperformed the overall growth trend in inbound mobility for China, with student numbers from OBOR countries growing 13.6% compared to 2015. Officials expect those same Silk Road markets to continue to drive further enrolment growth in the years ahead.
Read the complete article on http://monitor.icef.com/2017/03/foreign-enrolment-surging-china/