What's the fuss about studying abroad?

What's the fuss about studying abroad?

Some 80 per cent of China's rich have plans to send their children abroad for studies, the highest percentage in the world, says a recent Hurun report.

In contrast, less than 1 per cent of rich Japanese have such a plan, and the ratios in France and Germany are less than 5 per cent and about 10 per cent, says the report titled "China Overseas Study 2014".

The Hurun report says Chinese children sent overseas for studies tend to be younger than their counterparts from other countries.

The average age of children of multimillionaires sent abroad for studies is 18 years, and that of billionaires is 16.

The most preferred destinations of such students are the United States and the United Kingdom, which together attract more than 50 per cent of Chinese students.

They are followed by Australia, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Singapore, France, Japan and Germany.

Since the samples on which the report is based are not clear, it cannot be said with certainty that it reflects reality.

Because of the many problems that have emerged in the process of China's economic development, from the damage to the environment to frequent food safety scandals, many apparently eye-catching, and even sensationalizing reports has been concocted seemingly to consolidate some people's belief that "the foreign moon is always more round than the Chinese one".

For example, from time to time surveys and studies have been highlighting how many rich Chinese people migrate to other countries every year or plan to do so.

With figures that fail to portray the full picture, some of them have created an impression that a majority of Chinese would choose to live abroad if they became rich.

Looking at the latest Hurun report, however, we should neither make a fuss over its so-called findings nor feel excessively concerned even if it reflects the real trend.

In this era of globalisation, it is only natural that an increasing number of Chinese would prefer to go abroad for higher studies, because apart from acquiring knowledge they can also widen their horizon of thinking.

The "go global" strategy of Chinese enterprises on the back of the country's fast economic growth has created opportunities for an increasing number of Chinese to work overseas, some of whose children have accompanied them.

This development too has contributed to an increase in the number of Chinese students studying overseas.

According to Ministry of Education data, the number of Chinese students who went abroad for studies last year was 413,900, a year-on-year increase of 3.58 per cent.

But the increase was less than the two-digit growth registered in the five previous years.

On the other hand, the number of foreign students coming to China for studies has been increasing over the years. In 2012, 35,719 foreign students came to China for studies, an increase of 12.21 per cent year-on-year.

As economic and cultural exchanges become increasingly frequent throughout the world, the cross-border flow of students is expected to increase further.

It is the inevitable result of an open global economy and should be encouraged.

Nowadays, many employers regard overseas educational diplomas and wider knowledge of the world among job seekers as additional qualifications.

Given its rigorous examination-oriented model, China's education system has long been criticised by many experts. But that does not mean the education acquired in China is good for nothing.

In fact, the strict basic education Chinese students receive in the early years, such as basic math, is believed, even by foreigners, to lay a solid foundation for later education.

With the continuous rise in China's comprehensive national strength, we should view the increase in the number of Chinese students going abroad for studies with an open mind.

And we should have confidence in the foundations of our nation and appreciate the fact that it has been continually making efforts to improve the different facets of society.

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