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Chinese students continue to dominate overseas studies market

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The annual 2013 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange
was recently released. Once again, China ranks as both the fastest
growing and the largest source of enrollment in America’s 3,500-plus
accredited colleges and universities.

2013年美国关于海外留学生的年度《开放门户报告》于近日发布,中国再次蝉联冠军,成为全美3,500余所认证大学最大且增长最快的生源地。


Students from mainland China (counted separately from Hong Kong and
Taiwan) numbered 235,000 out of a total international enrollment figure
of nearly 900,000 at the tertiary level in the U.S.

在美国大学全部90万名外国留学生当中,有23.5万人是来自中国内地(不包括港台地区)。


The fastest growing segment of Chinese enrollment in recent years has
been at the undergraduate level. This past year was no different, with
26% year on year growth.

其中,中国本科留学生的增速一直领先,去年也不例外,同比增长达到26%。


Of concern to many US universities, however, was the slowdown in growth
of enrollment from China at the graduate level, especially in science
and engineering disciplines. For the previous 7 years, year on year
growth was in the strong double digits. In 2013, it slipped to only 5%.
By contrast, first-time graduate enrollment from India surged 40%.

然而,令很多美国大学担忧的是,来自中国的研究生数量增长出现放缓,尤其是理工科学生。此前7年,中国赴美研究生的年增长率一直保持在两位数,但2013年却骤跌至5%。与此相比,首次读研的印度留学生人数暴涨40%。


As the Open Doors Report points out, international students represent a
major revenue opportunity for the American education system,
contributing some US$24 billion to the US economy in 2013. International
student enrollment is up 40% from ten years ago, and yet it represents
only 4% of total graduate and undergraduate enrollment in the U.S.

《开放门户报告》指出,留学生是美国教育体系的主要创收来源,2013年共为美国经济贡献了240亿美元。与十年前相比,外国留学生总数增加了40%,但在美国本科及研究生总量中所占的比例仅为4%。


American students also studied abroad in record numbers in 2013,
totaling 283,000. Most of these were enrolled in summer, semester, or
one-year programs, as opposed to the degree programs which Chinese
college students typically pursue overseas. The U.K., Italy, Spain and
France remain the top destinations for American students, although China
has also grown in popularity, and is now ranked 5th.

2013年,美国学生赴海外留学也创下了历史记录,达到28.3万人。这些学生大多选修暑期、单学年或一年的课程,而中国留学生一般都会选择学位教育。英国、意大利、西班牙、法国仍是美国学生热衷的留学目的地,但中国现在也越来越受欢迎,排名已上升至前五位。


Even so, less than 10% of US college students study abroad at any point
during their undergraduate years. It appears China is doing more to
transform their best and brightest into globally-minded citizens than
the US is, at least insofar as study abroad is concerned.

尽管如此,大学本科期间出国留学的美国学生仍不足10%。看来在培养具有国际化视角的优才方面,中国似乎比美国更加积极,至少目前在出国留学方面是这样。


Another clear trend in US-China education is the growing numbers of
mainland students in private US secondary schools. According to the US
Department of Homeland Security, the number of mainland Chinese enrolled
in private US high schools is currently 23,795, up from just 4,503 in
2008. Their main objective is to be better prepared for the U.S. college
admission process.

另外一个美中教育的明显趋势是,入读美国私立中学的中国内地学生持续增加。据美国国土安全部统计,目前在美国私立高中就读的中国内地学生共计23,795人,而2008年这一数字仅为4,503人。送孩子去美国读高中主要是为了更好地备战美国大学的入学考试。


The growing appeal of admission to US, Australian, U.K. and other
universities has also been a driver of the establishment of more
international secondary schools in China. More of the better Chinese
high schools now provide college counseling services, providing
alternatives to in-country school recruitment agents and consultants,
some of whom are aggressive and unethical.

去美国、澳大利亚、英国上大学的诱惑不断增强,也促使中国国内开办国际中学的热情持续升温。很多条件较好的中国高中现在也提供大学咨询服务,取代了外国学校设在国内的招生代理或招生顾问,其中有些代理和顾问急功近利,缺乏职业道德。


One of the by-products of the heightened competitive admissions
environment for top US universities is that many college preparatory
high schools in China now have volunteer programs where students engage
in community outreach or charity work. Apart from demonstrating social
responsibility, this becomes a valuable add-on to the college
application.

美国一流大学的入学竞争门槛不断提高,导致目前很多中国的大学预科高中开始推行志愿者计划,即安排学生参与社区活动或慈善工作。这样除能彰显社会责任外,还可以在申请大学时获得加分。


Chinese parents face a challenging decision on which kind
of U.S. secondary school to choose. Among the 1,085 member schools of
the National Association of Independent Schools, the median percentage
of international student enrollment is only 3.2%

选择哪种类型的美国中学是一个对中国父母充满挑战性的决策。在美国独立中学协会下属的1,085所会员学校中,留学生占比的中位数仅为3.2%。


The good news is that in such an environment, Chinese students have no
choice but to integrate, improving their English and cross-cultural
skills in the process.

好消息是在这样的环境下,中国学生除了努力融入集体,并在这一过程中提高英语和跨文化交流能力外,别无他选。


However, being part of a very small minority of international students
among a student body who tend to be academically bright but culturally
provincial, on a campus often located in a rural rather than urban
community, can be an extremely lonely experience. Even though the
Chinese student may be well prepared academically, he or she will face a
highly competitive and challenging social integration process. The
emotional challenges involved are significant.

然而,留学生作为学生群体中的极少数派,很可能成绩优异但有文化隔阂,再加上学校多位于郊区而非市区,这样的留学生活很可能极为孤独。尽管中国留学生在学业上也许已经做好了准备,但仍会遭遇激烈的竞争和艰难的社会融入过程。这其中包含的心理挑战也值得注意。


On the other hand are some member schools of The
Association of Boarding Schools, where enrollment from China can range
higher than 25% of the student body. This gives the Chinese student
ample room to hang out just with other Chinese kids.

另一方面,在住宿学校协会下属的某些会员校,中国留学生的比例超过了25%,这让中国学生哪怕只跟本国的同学来往都绰绰有余。


The recent years’ surge in enrollment from mainland China into American
(as well as U.K., Canadian, Australian and other countries’) schools is
good news for China and the world, but it is not without controversy.

近来越来越多的中国内地学生赴美(英、加、澳及其他国家)求学,这对中国和世界来说都是好事,但也并非没有争议。


Widespread fraud in the application process has created a serious
reputational problem for applicants from China among U.S. admissions
offices. Applicants from China are now routinely treated with an extra
level of scrutiny and doubt. Partly because of the soaring numbers, this
applies more to Chinese applicants than to those from other countries,
according to US education experts I’ve spoken with.

递交申请过程中猖獗的弄虚作假严重损害了中国学生在美国各大院校招生办公室的声誉。现在,凡是来自中国的申请必须接受额外的审查和质疑,这已成为惯例。据我从美国教育专家那里了解到的情况,这也与中国申请人数激增、远远超过其他国家存在一定的联系。


Zinch China, the US-headquartered international online social network
for students, published their Zinch White Paper #4 in November 2012.
They interviewed 250 Chinese high school seniors from better high
schools in China. The paper aimed to describe the extent of application
fraud in China, and revealed a sobering landscape:

• 90% of recommendation letters were fake

• 70% of application essays were not written by the candidate

• 50% of high school transcripts were falsified to some degree

总部位于美国的留学网站Zinch China于2012年11月发布了Zinch四号白皮书。该网站通过对250名来自中国较好的高中高年级学生的访问,揭示出留学申请造假的现状:

• 90%的推荐信都是假的

• 70%的申请论文不是本人所写

• 50%的高中成绩单或多或少经过篡改

The high scholars’ common observation was that “everybody cheats” due largely to relentless, intense parental pressure on getting their kids into famous universities.

高中学生对这种现象的普遍看法是,父母对让孩子上名牌大学的执着和压力很大程度上是导致“人人造假”的诱因。


Zinch also found that at that time, about 80% of the Chinese applicants to US undergraduate programs whom they interviewed
used China-based agents, few of whom follow accepted ethical standards.
Apart from a fee ranging from US$6,000 to $10,000, many agents get a
bonus for acceptance to top-ranked schools, and (secretly) a percentage
of the financial aid package, if one is awarded.

Zinch在这次调查中还发现,受访的中国学生中有80%都是通过设在中国国内的代理向美国本科大学递交的申请,而这些代理很少遵守职业道德。除收
取6,000至10,000美元不等的代理费外,一旦申请被一流大学接纳,代理公司还会获得一笔奖金,甚至会(私下)从学生获得的奖学金中提成。


To cope with the fraud issue, and assist US admissions offices to
evaluate Chinese applicants’ bona fides, one enterprising group of
Americans, Canadians, Israelis and Chinese formed a company providing
specialized verification services.

为杜绝弄虚作假,协助美国招生办公室鉴别中国申请者材料的真伪,一家由美国、加拿大、以色利及中国人组成的企业集团成立了新的公司,专门提供专业鉴定服务。


Three-year old Vericant, with offices in China as well as the U.S.,
provides schools with a video recording of the applicant answering a
series of carefully formulated questions in English, as well as a
proctor-supervised essay writing session.

这家名为Vericant的公司成立已有三年,在中美两地均设有办事处。他们会将申请人用英文回答一系列精心设计问题的过程拍摄下来,并将视频提供给学校,还会监考论文的写作。


According to co-founder Chris Boehner, business is growing steadily. He
says there are a growing number of competitive service providers as well
as non-profits offering assistance to US admissions offices in China, but Vericant has a head start in their core market, which are private secondary schools.

根据合伙人Chris Boehner的介绍,公司的业务正在稳步增长。他说,虽然为美国招生办公室提供相似服务的竞争对手和非营利组织在中国层出不穷,但Vericant公司在其核心市场,即私立中学市场上仍稳居头把交椅。


Boehner says there are about 400 legally registered overseas study
consultants in China who offer a wide range of services designed to help
Chinese students get into US and other overseas schools. He estimates
there are hundreds more unlicensed ones.

Boehner说,中国约有400家合法注册的海外留学顾问公司,专为中国学生提供赴美国和其他国家留学的各种服务。据他估计,还有数百家未经授权的机构也在从事相关业务。


Vericant’s website features a statement on the issue of admissions
fraud, which emphasizes that the disconnects between the Chinese and US
education system also make the application process more complicated for
Chinese students. In other words, disconnects in the two systems invite
fraud to a certain extent.

Vericant网站刊登了一则有关入学造假的声明,强调中美两国教育体制的断层是导致中国学生申请程序繁琐的原因。换言之,两种体系的不接轨在某种程度上滋生了腐败的温床。


A few examples of such disconnects: some Chinese high schools are
opposed to their best students pursuing studies overseas, and obstruct
the issuance of transcripts or teacher recommendation letters; Chinese
teachers are generally not accustomed to writing American-style
recommendation letters, and many are not capable of doing so in English.

举例来说,有些中国高中反对优质学生留学海外,于是就在出具成绩单和推荐信的过程中设置障碍。再比如,中国老师一般不太习惯撰写美式推荐信,很多老师也没有能力用英文出具推荐信。


The British Council’s 2012 Report “Internationalizing Higher Education”
forecasts that by 2020, there will be 2.86 million students seeking
overseas studies globally. Within the same time frame, they estimate an
additional 100,000 students coming into the study abroad market from
China, India, Indonesia and Brazil alone.

据英国议会2012年《国际高等教育报告》预测,到2020年,全球留学生总数将达到286万人。到那时,仅中国、印度、印尼、巴西四国向海外输送的留学生就将增加10万人。


This estimate sounds low to me, based on recent years’ trends from China alone.

仅就近年中国海外留学的趋势而言,我觉得这个预测有些保守。


In addition, consider the impact of the recently announced relaxation of
China’s one-child policy. Population experts predict this could result
in an additional 2 to 3 million births within the first few years alone,
especially among wealthier Chinese families — those most likely to be
considering overseas study for their children. The impact on the
outbound flow of Chinese students over the next 15-20 years could be
very significant indeed.

此外,考虑到最近中国独生子女政策的松动,专家预计在放开的头几年将会出现两、三百万的人口增长,特别是在富裕家庭——也就是最有可能考虑子女留学的家庭。这对未来15至20年间中国学生的出国留学将产生重大的影响。


The study abroad market for mainland Chinese students is poised to continue growing by leaps and bounds.

中国内地学生赴海外留学的市场注定还将继续扩大。


Growing pains, including application fraud, make it a matter of urgency
for educational institutions, professional associations, and regulators
in the US as well as China to become more engaged in finding effective
ways to improve the process.

在此过程中,申请材料造假等各种阵痛让中美两国教育机构、行业协会、监管机构充分意识到,应尽快寻找有效方式,改进现有流程。


Chinese parents also need to carefully consider the
long-term implications of what examples they are setting for their
children by compromising ethical values in pursuit of achieving “face” in the college admissions process.

中国的父母们也应该仔细考虑,仅仅为了在大学录取中“有面子”就拉低道德底线,将为子女树立怎样的长期负面榜样。


Meanwhile, the growing ranks of smart and ethical entrepreneurs like
those at Vericant are providing a very useful and timely service. Long
may they prosper.

同时,Vericant之类既聪明又正直的企业迅速崛起,提供了有用和及时的服务。祝他们生意兴隆。

2016-06-23

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