Over the past 41 years of China’s reform and opening up, the education of foreign students in China, as an important part of China’s opening-up and foreign cooperation and exchanges, has played an important role in promoting the internationalization of higher education, strengthening international exchanges, spreading Chinese culture and improving China’s international image.
Students’ education in China dates back to the early 1950s. Since 1951, 33 foreign students from Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria have entered China, becoming the first group of Chinese students since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
The regulations on academic degrees of the People’s Republic of China promulgated in 1980 stipulates that foreign students studying in China can apply for academic degrees from degree-awarding units, and those with prescribed academic levels can be awarded corresponding degrees. The implementation of the degree system for overseas students in China marks a new starting point for the education of overseas students in China, which is also a new starting point for the continuous improvement and optimization of the structure of overseas students in China. Since 1984, the categories of foreign students admitted to China have included language students, academic students, visiting students, and research scholars.
In the new century, with the development of economy and trade, science and technology, culture and education in China, the country’s strength has been continuously enhanced, its international status has been continuously improved, and its attraction to foreign students has been further increased. The scale of international students in China, especially the scale of self-supporting students or overseas scholarship students, has been rapidly expanded. Especially since the 18th national congress of the communist party of China (CPC), China’s comprehensive national strength has continued to improve, and it has become the mission and responsibility of education for overseas students in China to strengthen efforts to cultivate high-end talents who know and care for China.
According to statistics, during the 41 years from 1978 to 2019, the annual number of Chinese students studying in China increased from 1,236 to 492,200, a 397-fold increase. The number of accredited universities increased from 35 to 1,004, a nearly 28-fold increase. From 2001 to 2009, the annual growth rate of huasheng exceeded 20%. Between 2010 and 2019, the annual number of international students in China increased from 265,100 to 492,200, a 1.86-fold increase over the past nine years. Other statistics show that in 2016 alone, there were more than 130,000 foreign students studying in preschool education institutions and primary and secondary schools in China. In addition, there were 443,000 foreign students studying in China, including foreign students of all levels and types, bringing the total to more than 570,000.
In the future, a study in China will be more international, a study in China will be more professional, scientific, standardized, institutionalized, a study in China will be more characteristic!