China No. 3 pick of foreign students
Hemali Chhapia,TNN | Feb 22, 2014, 02.30 AM IST
MUMBAI: That the world flies to China and India to entice the young to their colleges is common knowledge. What is not so well known is that China has now become the third most favoured nation of international students after the US and UK.
According to data put together by the Institute of International Education on international student mobility in 2012, there are many more foreignstudents in China (3.28 lakh) than in Australia or Germany. South Korea continues to send the maximum number of students to China (21.3%), but a close second is the US (8%).
When this decade opened, China was not on most students' radar; now, having made rapid strides in the unlikely field of higher education, it is attracting several thousand foreign students every year. Most of them are studying humanities, followed by medicine.
With China pushing France to number four (see table), the top three nations have now captured 35% of the international student market, which is growing at a feverish pace. Since 2000, the number of students leaving home in pursuit of higher education increased by 65%, totalling about 4.3 million students globally.
Clearly, international education has turned into an export house, a fertile ground where share among nations is constantly altering—the rise of Canada and China, the drop in the US's singular hold, the UK finding it difficult to add big numbers and smaller Asian nations like Singapore marching in for space.
Speaking of the rise of the Asian region, Rajika Bhandari, Raisa Belyavina and Robert Gutierrez in their work, 'Student Mobility and the Internationalization of Higher Education' note, "While this has resulted in a somewhat smaller market share for top host countries, it is nonetheless a positive development as it has brought more countries into the field of international education and has changed the relationship between sending and receiving countries from a unidirectional 'brain drain' type of mobility to one of dynamic, mutual exchange."
The trio feels the journey from being a nation which sees its scholars leave the shores for greener academic pastures to becoming a magnet for students from around the world, is a long one, fraught with challenges.
They say: "They (the rising Asian countries) are likely to face the dilemma of how to increase the capacity of their higher education systems to provide adequate opportunities for their expanding college-age population while also accommodating incoming international students and engaging in the type of international educational exchange that is necessary in today's globally competitive world."
India, which currently has 22,385 students in the UK and 96,754 in the US, is home to merely about 27,000 international students. Experts say the country will have to build a standard operating procedure to lure the brightest if it wants to transform itself into an international classroom.
* China seeks to host 5,00,000 international students by 2020
* Singapore has been making rapid strides with the establishment of Education Singapore, a new agency charged with promoting and marketing Singapore and attracting 1,50,000 foreign students by 2015
* Malaysia seeks to attract 80,000 international students by 2010
* Japan has set a goal of hosting 3,00,000 international students by 2020
India: A sleeping giant
India has not been as significant a host for students from other countries. It's due in large part to the quality and capacity issues of its higher education sector that lead so many Indians to seek educational opportunities elsewhere. Though students from 195 countries come to India for undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes, they total around 27,000.
(Source: Student Mobility and the Internationalization of Higher Education, Project Atlas)