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China emerges as a more popular education hub for Indian students

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

06-01-2018 17:22 BJT

By Rabi Sankar Bosu, Indian freelance contributor to Chinese media outlets

India and China are traditional partners in the quest to build a more peaceful world through education and cultural exchanges since historic times. Both countries are proud of their long history of civilizations. The two countries' cultural influences have made outstanding contributions to the world. Inspired by Buddhism, great scholars of both nations had visited each other in ancient times to enhance development of two great civilizations.

The two countries have also shown striking similarities in the fields of education and philosophical thinking. They have produced a galaxy of amazing educators and reformers. China has Confucius in ancient times and Tao Xingzhi in modern times. India has Siddhartha Gautama in ancient times and Rabindranath Tagore in modern times.

Rabindranath Tagore and famous Chinese poets Lin Huiyin and Xu Zhimo 

Their ethos of enlightenment have connected both Indian and Chinese people through education, culture for all ages. The exchanges of education, especially the humanitarian exchanges play a crucial role for Sino-Indian relations. Indian and Chinese parents both aspire to make their children successful through education, which is why many Chinese parents can resonate with the Indian film "Hindi Medium" that depicts India's education system with a humorous light.

Last year, China became the world's third most-popular study destination for students worldwide, just behind the United States and the United Kingdom. As China aims to become Asia's top destination for international students by 2020, it has set a target of having over half million foreign students by then. According to May 2017 figures, there are 2,914 colleges and universities in China with over 20 million students. According to the fifteenth version of Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), a total of 57 Chinese universities are among the top 500 universities in the world. Tsinghua and Peking University have taken the 2nd and 3rd place in the latest edition of the Times Higher Education Asian University Rankings.

 Peking University 

To become Asia's major higher education powerhouse, China is trying to remove barriers on language to attract more young intelligent students of India to its top universities. The just concluded second edition of the "Chinese Higher Education Expo", organized by the Consulate General of China in Kolkata, capital city of eastern Indian state West Bengal on May 10 and 11 saw an overwhelming participation of Indian students who are opening their minds for higher education in China.

More than 60 universities spread over 11 provinces and municipalities of China participated in the expo. The two-day expo has ignited strong interest in Indian young intellect for higher education and research in China under the support of a Chinese government scholarship. Numerous Indian students have signed letters of intent with relevant universities at the expo.

Indian students at Chinese Higher Education Expo.

In recent years, China has drawn an increasing number of Indian students making it the fastest growing destination for Indian students for further studies. According to the Chinese Ministry of Education, India has in recent years stood as one of the top 10 sources of international students in China. The Chinese Consul General in Kolkata, Ma Zhanwu informed that around 18,000 Indian students are currently studying in China as compared to 765 just a decade ago. According to a survey by the Center for China and Globalization in 2017, the number of Indian students studying in China has increased by more than 20 percent on average. 80 percent of Indian students in China follow undergraduate clinical medical courses in various medical institutions, according to the Indian Embassy in Beijing.

There are several reasons why China is one of the most interesting destination for Indian students today. Educational experts said the cost of education in China is less compared to many other foreign universities. Furthermore, China is also physically closer to Indian students' homes, since it takes about two hours to travel by airplane from Kolkata to Kunming, China, and students can come and go conveniently. Most importantly, with the rapidly growing India-China relations, studying in China can bring more lucrative job opportunities for Indian students in the years to come.

On the other hand, the number of Chinese students in India has remained steady, but "very low", at about 2,000 for the last few years, according to Ma Zhanwu. A China Daily report said Chinese students are unwilling to study in India because they think the social environment there is not safe, especially for female students. Global Times wrote, "Many Chinese students currently studying in India decry India's notorious red tape, which erodes their enthusiasm to the country." Therefore, India government must resolve the Chinese students' safety and Visa concerns.

Exchange of students is one of the best platforms to deepen people-to-people exchanges between the two nations. It can be hoped that Indian students while studying in China promote Indian cultures in their own way and they will understand more about Chinese culture. And upon returning, they can introduce Chinese culture to common folks. Accordingly, students studying in both countries will contribute further to friendly relations between the two peoples.

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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