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Foreigners few but growing at Chinese vocational colleges

Updated: Jul 18,2016 9:03 AM     China Daily

Vocational education in China is becoming more attractive to foreign students, though there’s still some work to be done that will add to its appeal and international reputation, according to educators in the field.

A total of 3,847 students from overseas studied at 69 vocational colleges on the Chinese mainland during the 2015 academic year, up almost 40 percent from the year before, a recent report found.

The report, released over the weekend by Shanghai Academy of Educational Sciences and education research company MyCOS Institute, found that the reputation of China’s vocational colleges is growing.

Some of the colleges are having an international impact through their excellence in areas such as electronics, mechanics, architecture and rail transit.

However, 3,847 remains small by comparison with other college programs.

Almost 400,000 students from overseas studied in China last year.

So the challenge for vocational colleges seems stark.

Ma Shuchao, former deputy director of the Shanghai academy, said courses, such as Chinese cooking, are attractive to international students who are interested in the culture.

“However, after hearing that the courses last for only three years and culminate in a vocational certificate, many give up on the idea of coming because they prefer a four-year experience that delivers a bachelor’s degree,” Ma said.

Zhang Huibo, president of Ningbo Polytechnic, a vocational college in Zhejiang province, said some national-level scholarships and funds are only provided to international students at certain universities in China.

“If international students could get more financial support from the Chinese government for vocational education, I believe their numbers would increase greatly,” Zhang said.

Vocational college graduates’ average monthly pay and job satisfaction [CHINA DAILY]