Study abroad | continued increase in Chinese students studying abroad

Chinese students choosing to study abroad

Almost one million Chinese students chose not to sit the annual college entrance test this year, instead opting to study abroad in the hope of a more holistic and better education. However, the annual college entrance exam in China, considered to be among the most important events in a young person’s life, was taken by over 9 million hopeful students last weekend, many hoping it will secure them a college place as part of their life plan.

The number of test takers this year increased by 3% over last year’s figure, representing an increase of 270,000 young people taking the entrance test for college. Many of them were students from rural areas of China, and the overall number of test takers increased for the first time this year following a decline in numbers taking the test over the last five years. It was reported that almost one million high school students did not sit the annual college entrance test this year, many of them choosing to study abroad instead and others securing employment immediately following graduation from high school.

The decrease in test takers seems to be concentrated in the large urban areas such as Shanghai where 52,000 young students took the test this year in comparison to more than double that figure back in 2006. In Beijing, the number of students taking the college entrance test has declined for eight consecutive years, with only 70,000 sitting the test this year. And Henan Province saw a decline of 34,000 in the number of test takers this year compared to 2013.

Chinese brain drain

Some Chinese academic experts say that among those students choosing to study abroad are some of the best students, which has an impact on the overall quality of the student body at China’s top universities such as Peking University or Tsinghua University. It appears that many of the brightest and best academic students and those whose family have more economic resources are choosing to study abroad as their first option rather than attend university in China. Even high ranking Chinese officials seem to prefer sending their children abroad to study.

Chinese students studying abroad increasing

According to the Ministry of Education, in 2013, there were 413,900 Chinese students studying abroad in various countries, an increase of almost 4% on 2012. This is a trend which has been developing for more than a decade. In total, there were more than 3 million Chinese students studying abroad in 2013, the largest number from any country in the world. One of the most popular destinations for Chinese students studying abroad is the USA where 93,768 Chinese students entered into undergraduate study abroad programs in 2013 and 103,427 students into post-graduate study programs.