Thursday, January 31, 2013

Education: goldmine or black hole? - China Weekly Hangout

English: A group of students - International E...
English: A group of students - International Education College of the Xinjiang Medical University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Good education has been high on the agenda for many Chinese parents, and often they looked at foreign institutions to send their children to, rather than the rather traditional Chinese schools. Initially, the focus was on universities, but increasingly Chinese kids have started to attend also foreign boarding schools, to prepare them for a prestigious university abroad.

The China Weekly Hangout will ask on February 7 if education for Chinese is a goldmine or black hole, and for who. What might be the best strategy for both potential students, their parents and aspiring educational institutions, trying to tap into the China market?

The playing field is diverse, as are the interests at stake. China has been an important recruiting ground for foreign universities since the country started to open up economically. Some US universities now have 40-50% Chinese students, while some Australian universities at times recorded more than 90% Chinese students.
That has an adverse effect on recruitment, because when Chinese opt for foreign education, they do not expect an all-Chinese university, even when it is based in Australia.
Reversely, many universities have set up campuses in China. Initially mainly business schools, but more are moving into China and - for example - the NYU is planning a huge expansion after opening a first campus in Shanghai. While those domestic solutions of international schools are more affordable for students who cannot afford an international study, they have been met with distrust, as many potential students did not believe the China campus of prestigious universities would have the same quality and international exposure as the original Alma Mater.
Switzerland, as we reported earlier this week, would focus rather on high quality and the offspring of China's millionaires, rather than setting up another mainstream mass production line for university talents.
And then there is the dilemma for the students themselves: employment opportunities abroad have diminished with the financial crisis, and returning back to China does not give them jobs allowing them to pay back loans for study abroad. Even getting a job in China is hard, as they have to compete with domestically educated graduates. Some international Chinese students had to write off their investment in their education. Many Chinese students in the US end up studying for a PhD in the US, the academic edition of cheap labor, without perspective on a real job.

During our previous China Weekly Hangout we discussed failing foreign firms in China, with Richard Brubaker, who is currently teaching at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai and Andrew Hupert, who used to teach at the NYU campus in Shanghai. Both will try to attend this upcoming hangout too, but we love to get more perspectives in. Are you a (potential) Chinese student, are you working for one of the educational institutions, are you a parent thinking of sending you kid abroad, and you want to have a say, register here at our event page.

The China Weekly Hangout on education for China and the Chinese will take place on February 7, 10pm Beijing Time, 3pm CET (Europe) and 9pm EST (US/Canada). We can host a maximum of nine guests, but others can send remarks and questions in the comments here and during the event at our event page.

Is it your first time on Google+ Hangout and you want to have a test to see if all your systems are working? Drop us a line. 

Here is the previous China Weekly Hangout, on Failing ForeignFirms in China.


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