An international education exhibition held in Guangzhou in June. (File photo/CFP)
China sent 340,000 students abroad in 2011, a 19% increase compared with the previous year. 190,000 of Chinese students who studied abroad returned to the country in the same year, a 38% increase over 2010. Of the total 820,000 Chinese students to have studied abroad between 1978 and 2011, 72% of them chose to return to China after finishing the studies, reports a newspaper run by the Chinese education ministry.
China has become the country that sends more students abroad than any other, with a 1.42 million studying at institutions overseas as of the end of 2011. Most students who study abroad go of their own free will and pay for themselves, compared with those candidates who were selected and paid for by the country in the past. The average age of the students abroad is also going down.
The students go to more than 100 countries, but almost three quarters of them will go to one of the United States, Australia, Japan, Britain and Canada. Safety remains a concern as accidents and problems occur frequently, especially where there is no strict law to regulate the agents who help Chinese students with their application to foreign schools.
The returning students have much to offer when they come back, the article said. Most of the people selected for the government's 1,000 talents project have experience of studying abroad. 90% of the scholars at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have studied abroad, as have most presidents of education ministry-run schools and institutions.