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Fewer Chinese students take college exams, opt for overseas education: report

Fewer Chinese students are choosing to take college entrance exams while more of them are considering studying abroad, according to a new report.

In the past 4 years the number of students taking college entrance exams has fallen by 1.4 million from 10.4 million in 2008 to 9 million in 2012, according to the “2012 Report on College Entrance Exams” published by China’s Education Online, which claims to be the largest Chinese education portal.

The phenomenon of “three quits” — referring to students who either quit the exam, university application or college registration — is increasingly popular, said education expert Xiong Bingqi. Kai Pengzhou from Beijing Normal University, which specializes in education training, said the main reason for the decrease in the number of applicants is China’s falling birth rate.

By contrast, more and more students are applying to overseas universities. The report shows the number of students choosing to study abroad has grown 20 percent annually in the years 2008-2012. Zhang Xi, who attended one of Beijing’s top high schools, said she chose to study abroad because of the bad quality of education at domestic universities.

Zhang’s mother, who works for China’s central government and who graduated from Shanghai’s Fudan University, a top domestic college, said the tuition and living expenses at local colleges are increasingly high while it’s hard to find a decent job after graduation.

“I’d rather let my child study abroad and get a more competitive diploma,” she told the 21st Century Business Herald. “At least she can master a foreign language.”

Also, a rising number of students are giving up higher vocational college, which may lead to the bankruptcy of those colleges in the future, Xiong added.

“Chinese colleges must be reformed,” said Xiong. “I suggest they introduce the institutions of transferring schools and free applications to meet the personal demands of students for higher education and be more competitive.”

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