Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Internationalization of Chinese Higher Education

Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Internationalization of Chinese Higher Education

Article excerpt


This paper probes into the development of internationalization of higher education in China from ancient times to modern times, including the emergence of international connections in Chinese higher education and the subsequent development of such connections, the further development of internationalization of Chinese higher education, and the regularization of internationalization of China's higher education. The discussion centers on the issue of internationalization of Chinese higher education in a chronological order by using some official statistics and documents for demonstration. Through the discussion, we may find that China has made great progress in the internationalization of higher education; however, as to Chinese higher education, there is still room for improvement so as for the country's higher education system to keep pace with the advanced education system in the developed countries.

Keywords: Chinese higher education, internationalization, reform, development

1. Introduction

From a historical perspective, the internationalization of Higher Education (IHE) in China seemed to emerge in ancient times if the modern term "international" can be understood as the relationship between small kingdoms, and underwent a lot of changes over the long history of the development of the country. However, based on the modern interpretation of the term, it seems that Higher Education in China still lies in an early stage and Chinese universities have not truly integrated into the world's Higher Education system. This paper aims at discussing the development of IHE in China in a chronological order, highlighting four important phases which are shown in the coming parts. In the discussion that will be unfolded in the following the author will try to exhibit, relying on the released statistics and the official publications, the various factors entering into roughly the whole process of Chinese internalization of higher education. The discussion is meant for showing that such a process is coupled or entangled with the country's development in which politics and economy are always the two dominant factors.

The internationalization of education in China may date back to the time when Confucius lived and the multiplicity of the nationalities of the students of his was ample evidence, while that of higher education started when various modern institutions of higher education came into being in the country in the end of the 19th century. International components of higher education are by no means new in the west and historians refer in this respect to medieval times (Teichler, 2009, p. 93). Academic efforts in the research on the internationalization of higher education were, however, relatively new things that were not carried out in earnest till the early 1990s. Teichler (2009), when tracing European experiences in the internationalization of higher education, laid out seven themes in this respect covering primarily 1) physical mobility, notably of students, academic staffand occasionally administrative staff, 2) recognition across borders of study achievements, 3) other modes of transfer of knowledge across borders and 4) international orientations and attitudes. In his paper entitled with "Internationalization of Higher Education: towards a conceptual framework", Zha (2003) addresses the nature of the internationalization of higher education by dealing with the definitions, approaches and rationales proposed by scholars. By summarizing scholars' view points, Zha shows that for him internationalization is not merely an aim itself, but an important resource in the development of higher education towards a system in line with international standards; one open and responsive to its global environment. Approaches in his discussion come up to three of which the activity approach touches student/faculty exchange, technical assistance, and international students; competence approach emphasizes the development of skills, knowledge, attitudes and value in students, faculty and staff. …

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