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International Student Enrollments Exceeded 230,000 in 2009

International education is an important component of education in China, and has been attached great importance by the Chinese government. With the guidance of Scientific Outlook of Development and according to the arrangements of the central government, the Ministry of Education (MOE) develops the international education administration system with “scale expansion, structure optimization, quality assurance, management standardization” as a general policy. In 2009, the international student enrollments exceeded 230,000 for the first time.


In 2009, China received 238,184 international students from 190 countries and regions, distributing in 610 universities, R&D institutes and other higher education institutions (HEIs) from 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government in China (Taiwan Province, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macau Special Administrative Region excluded). The total number of international students, the number of country of origins, the number of hosting institutes, and the number of Chinese Government Scholarship students all reached an all-time high since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

The number of international student in China increased by 6.57% to 238,184 in 2009 (an increase of 14,685 over the previous year). The number of Chinese Government Scholarship Students increased notably by 34.99% to 18,245 (an increase of 4,729 over the previous year). The number of self-sponsored students increased by 4.74% to 219,939(an increase of 9,956 over the previous year).


For breakdowns by continent, Asian students comprise the largest group of international students studying in China (161,605, comprising 67.84% of the total), followed by Europeans (35,876, comprising 15.06% of the total), Americans (25,557, comprising 10.73% of the total), Africans (12,436, comprising 5.22% of the total), and Oceanians (2,710, comprising 1.14% of the total).

For breakdowns by country of origin, the top ten sending countries are Republic of Korea (64,232), the United States (18,650), Japan (15,409), Vietnam (12,247), Thailand (11,379), Russia (10,596), India (8,468), Indonesia (7,926), Kazakhstan (6,497) and Pakistan (5,738). The countries sending more than 4,000 international students also include Mongolia (5,684), France (5,422) and Germany (4,239).


For breakdowns by type of student, the number of academic degree students is 93,450 (including undergraduates 74,472, master degree students 14,227, doctoral degree students 4,751), comprising 39.23% of the total (up 16.81% over the previous year), and increasing more rapidly than the total enrollments. Other types of international students increased to 144,734, comprising 60.77% of the total.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the total number of international students has accumulated to 1,690,000. In the section of System Reform of the National Outline for Medium and Long-term Education Reform and Development (exposure draft) promulgated on February 28, 2010, it is stated that “Further expand the scale of international students. Increase Chinese Government Scholarships, subsidize more international students from developing countries, and optimize the structure of international students. Carry out Foundation Program for international students, enrich programs taught in foreign languages in HEIs, and enhance the quality of international education”. In the section of Guarantee Measures, it is stated that “Implement the planning of Study Abroad in China, and expand the scale of international students”. After the Planning of Study Abroad in China is launched, the central and regional government and HEIs will promote the development of international education with a more active and open attitude, and lay more emphasis on stadardized management and quality education, aiming at 500,000 international student enrollments in 2020, and building China into Asia’s top destination country for international students.