More returning to China after study overseas, Education Ministry says

I have raised this issue once before – what do we need to do to keep these students in the USA…? After all, we educate them and we prepare them for the future… Should we not treat any student who studies here in the U.S. as an investment for our future..?

Better job opportunities and family ties are among the forces driving them back to China


Figures from the Ministry of Education showed 353,500 people who went overseas to study came back to China last year, nearly 30 times the number of returnees seen at the beginning of the century.

A survey by the ministry found that more than 60 per cent held master’s degrees, while 30 per cent had only a bachelor’s degree. Six per cent had obtained a doctorate.

Countries they were leaving included the United States, Australia, Britain, Japan, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand.

Dr Henry Wang, president of the Centre for China and Globalisation, a Beijing-based think tank, said the overall environment in China had improved and the economy held brighter prospects. “It’s easier to get employed in China than elsewhere,” Wang said.

Six years ago 180,000 people went abroad to study and 70,000 returned. In 2012 the figure was 400,000, with returnees increasing more than three-fold.

The centre issued a report on China returnees last year and it showed 70 per cent of Chinese studying overseas planned to come back, most of them born in the 1980s, into single-child families and wanting to be near their parents.

Both the central government and grass-roots authorities have launched schemes to lure students back.

Jason Liang is among the recent returnees. Liang graduated with a major in communications from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, last autumn, but returned to Beijing in search of job prospects. He is doing an internship at a business magazine.

“My family is in Beijing and I have connections … here. It means I have better opportunities for work,” Liang said.

Culturally, it was also an easier fit back at home, he said.

Liang had tried internships but felt it was difficult to find work, especially with a non-science degree.

A total of 3.05 million people have gone abroad for study since 1978, when China first allowed the arrangement. More than 1.44 million have returned, according to the ministry.

Schools flush out cheating Chinese students


At EduGate, we sit down with our applicants to make sure they are who they say they are. In addition, we visit them at their university after they have gotten accepted to ensure they are on track academically. Anything less, and we would not be doing our job right.

Overseas education authorities are tightening up on the review process for high school and university applicants coming from China, after concerns have been voiced over Chinese students cheating on their submissions. 

“Like many other schools, one of our main jobs now is to examine the credibility of the materials submitted by students,” Elton Wen, China manager for State University of New York (SUNY), said at the China Educational Expo 2013 in Beijing last week, which was attended by 80 US high schools and universities looking to promote their schools to Chinese students and parents.

Chinese students cheating on their applications to study at US schools has become a bigger issue in recent years, according to Tom Melcher, former chairman of Zinch China, an education consultancy that helps Chinese students study abroad. 

Since 2011, Melcher has exposed Chinese students getting around overseas schools’ high requirements by faking their academic transcripts, hiring ghostwriters for their essays and cheating on their Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exams, which Chinese students are required to take if they want to study in an English-speaking country.

Sneaky methods  

According to Wen, Chinese students often try to cheat the system by modifying their transcripts, sometimes even with the help of their high schools.

“When we get an application from a student with extremely high grades, we have to check their academic backgrounds carefully, and sometimes the student is asked to prove himself or herself by sitting through an interview or making a personal statement,” Wen told the Global Times.

But Wen said that the purpose of such scrutiny is not to prevent Chinese students from studying at reputable schools abroad, but to help them make rational choices. 

Those who cheat to get into universities, but are not caught until after enrollment, are in most cases forced to transfer programs or schools, or even drop out altogether without the chance to conclude their studies, he said. 

TOEFL exam proctors, too, have seen added creativity from cheating Chinese students recently. Some examinees have gone through serious lengths to get higher scores, even hiring qualified lookalikes to sit their exams for them. 

At Kansas State University for example, some Chinese students who have shown up for class in recent years have not matched the security photos taken of them when they supposedly took their TOEFL exams months earlier, according to Melcher.

Risky business

Students who are caught cheating on their TOEFL tests are barred from retaking the exam until passing a three, six or 12-month period, depending on the severity of their case. 

But despite the severe penalties, Chinese students desperate to get into a prestigious school abroad are still willing to take the risk, said a consultant surnamed Wu, who runs a website that helps Chinese students prepare for TOEFL exams.

He admitted to the Global Times that fierce competition and increasing pressure are driving more Chinese students to cheat, but said that at the heart of the problem is a greater systemic issue in China.

“China’s credit system is not well-built; the cost of cheating is low, but the potential reward is enormous,” said Wu.

“A bit of cheating can totally change a student’s life, and even if they’re punished, the penalty often has little influence on their record or future when they return to China.”

Global Times | 2013-11-12 20:13:01 
By Global Times

Beijing Royal School Students At UC, Davis

EduGate’s students from the Beijing Royal School, Beijing, are enjoying their third week at University of California, Davis, learning and preparing for applying to US universities. This process is new to most students coming form china and will help them prepare and understand what really is needed to navigate the complex application process. We expect another group in the winter.