China denies giving foreign students more funds, vows to raise aid requirements

By Yin Han Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/29 22:33:39

China's education ministry denied that the country spends more on foreign students than on domestic primary and high school education, but promised to raise the bar on international student enrollment amid the controversy over China's education spending.

China has a strict process in awarding foreign students government scholarships. Those who don't meet the standards "will stop receiving funds," a Ministry of Education official was quoted by as saying on Tuesday.

The education ministry is mired in controversy after a We-media article criticized the ministry for spending only half the money on Chinese primary and high school students, a total of 1.64 billion yuan ($255 million) in the ministry's 2018 budget, than on foreign students, who have a budget of 3.32 billion yuan.

The official, who requested anonymity, said there was a misreading of official data.

The official said the budget of 1.64 billion yuan is only for primary and high schools directly affiliated with the Ministry of Education and is not the total spending on the 138 million Chinese primary and high school students.

The official did not reveal the total spending.

"The number of foreign students in China has increased over the years, which helped in promoting China's image and influence. However, it is true that problems have been emerging as the number of foreign students has been rising," Lao Kaisheng, a professor of education at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The We-media article fanned online sentiment by saying the standards for overseas students to enroll in Chinese universities and receive scholarships from China are low. Moreover, some overseas students "just come to China to have fun" instead of studying, and have not made any contributions to China.

The ministry is planning to introduce rules for higher education requirements  for foreign students in China, reported.

The national fiscal spending on education in 2016 was in 3.139 trillion yuan, according to a report released by the ministry in 2017. Half of the amount was used for primary and secondary education.

In 2016, 442,773 foreign students from 205 countries or regions were studying in China's schools and other education institutions, 11.07 percent of whom received government scholarships.


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