China pushes for the gaokao to be recognized by foreign universities

By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2015-5-25 23:58:03

China is pushing for its national college entrance examinations, or gaokao, to be accepted by more foreign universities in their admissions process, according to an official with the country's top education authority.

"We are currently working on having foreign countries recognize the grades of China's gaokao," Yu Jihai, deputy director of the Division of International Education at the Ministry of Education, said during a conference about education internationalization on Sunday.

Some universities in the US, Australia and Italy have started to accept the gaokao scores of Chinese students looking to enroll in degree programs.

Foreign universities assessing students based on their gaokao scores could save Chinese students' both time and money, but Chu Zhaohui, a research fellow with the National Institute of Education Sciences, believes that there is no urgent need for the Chinese authorities to promote the gaokao, as foreign universities are likely to actively seek out prospective Chinese students to solve their difficulties in enrolling enough lucrative international students. 

"The fact that some Australian universities take into account gaokao scores means that Chinese applicants do not need to take a one-year preparatory program if their gaokao scores exceed the requirement set for first-tier universities in their provinces, which could save them about 250,000 yuan ($40,325) in tuition and living expenses," an agent surnamed Xu who helps Chinese students prepare for studying overseas in Beijing, told the Global Times.

But very few Chinese students are admitted to colleges abroad solely based on their gaokao scores, she said.

She added that the universities that accept gaokao scores usually also require a high score in language-proficiency tests, which are difficult for many Chinese students.

Chinese universities will face more difficulty in attracting outstanding students in the future, but this will drive them to reform their assessment and management systems to become more competitive in the international higher education market, Chu said.

A total of 459,800 Chinese nationals started courses at universities abroad in 2014, up 11.1 percent compared with 2013.

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