China, which has most people studying abroad, is top destination for foreigners
Services for international students will be improved, Chinese top officials said during a meeting on overseas study.
China will take measures to continue educational cooperation with other countries, including sending more Chinese students overseas and receiving more international students, and strengthening services for those who go out and come in, Vice-Premier Liu Yandong said at the national meeting on overseas study, which was held in Beijing on Friday and Saturday.
The meeting, which focused on Chinese students studying abroad and international students studying in China, is the first one of its kind since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.
With a total of 3.06 million Chinese students studying abroad between 1978 and 2013, China has become the country that sends the largest number of students overseas to study.
China has also been one of the top destinations in Asia for overseas study, with 360,000 international students studying here in 2013 - a far cry from 36 years ago, when only 1,200 foreign students were studying in the country.
At the meeting, Liu conveyed President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang's hopes that the country will take advantage of domestic and international resources to nurture talent, improve services for international students coming to China, and promote communication and friendship between people from different countries.
The China Scholarship Council, a nonprofit organization under the Ministry of Education that provides student financial aid to Chinese citizens to study abroad and to foreigners to study in China, has already taken steps in this direction.
Liu Jinghui, secretary-general of the CSC Secretariat, said officials have been encouraging colleges and universities to offer courses taught in foreign languages to attract international students.
They have also popularized preparatory courses and unified examinations among international students who came to China for undergraduate education, as a way to improve the education quality.
"This will also lay a foundation for setting up the specific standards of admitting international students to study in China in the future," she said.
Shanghai education authorities are also considering upgrading services for international students.
Now, with 56,000 international students, the city ranks second in the number of international students among the country's provinces and regions.
To better serve international students, the Shanghai Commission of Education set up China's first regional pre-college school in 2012 to help international students improve their Chinese-language ability and get prepared for school life in China, said Su Ming, commission director.