Proposal seeks to stem ‘brain drain’

By Liu Dong Source:Global Times Published: 2013-1-29 23:18:01

The government should invest more in local universities and reform the admission process to stem the ongoing brain drain in the city, a Fudan University administrator said Tuesday at the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

There has been a growing tide of outstanding local students leaving the country in recent years, said Shanghai CPPCC member Ding Guanghong, the director of admissions at Fudan University. At several top foreign language high schools, as much as 50 percent of each graduating class goes overseas to study.

"Many of these students will not choose to come back," Ding said. "It is an unimaginable loss of talent for our country."

It has been a growing trend across the city, especially for more well-rounded students, who are the most likely to go abroad. Ding said that students these days have higher expectations. They no longer just want to get into a university. They want to get into a university that provides a high quality education. "If we can't satisfy their needs, they will turn to schools overseas," he said. 

The US is the top destination for Chinese students, according to a report by the Institute for International Education. About 128,000 Chinese students studied at US universities during the 2009-2010 school year, up 30 percent year-on-year.

Business was the most popular major for Chinese students, followed by science and engineering. Ding suggested that the government continually increase investment in undergraduate education so it can reach a world-class level as soon as possible.

The national college entrance examinations, or gaokao, also contribute to the problem, Ding said. The gaokao system limits the number of universities a student can seek to enter. For example, students can choose only two top-tier schools when they make their list of universities they would like to attend, which restricts what majors they can choose.

In the US, students can apply to as many schools as they want, which Ding said offers them more opportunities.

Ding suggested universities take measures to make the domestic admissions process more of a dialogue with students, so they can choose schools that will help them better meet their goals.

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