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State-sponsored students overseas increase
Latest Updated by 2006-06-16 14:49:13

A record number of State-sponsored students began studying overseas last year to train for the country's most-needed professions.

About 7,200 students, up 75 per cent from 2004, joined the State Sponsored Study Abroad Programme, figures from the China Scholarship Council show.

The United States, UK and Germany are listed as the top three destinations for Chinese State-funded students, with 2,177, 1,102 and 491 students studying there respectively.

Figures also show that about 70 per cent of the students took majors in seven categories that receive particular State support.

They are telecommunication and information technology, high-tech agriculture, life science and public health, materials science, energy and environment, engineering science, applied social science and studies related to the World Trade Organization.

Zhang Xiuqin, secretary-general of the council, explained that they offered particular support to these areas because China was suffering "huge talent shortages," and the development of these studies were still "far behind that in developed countries."

Zhang added, "Unlike individual studies overseas, the State-sponsored programmes are to train people for the country's most-needed professions."

She told China Daily that the number of students to be recruited this year would remain the same as last year.

Established on June 16 in 1996, the council, responsible for the organization, management and provision of financial assistance to Chinese citizens studying abroad, is having its 10-year anniversary today.

Zhang said she was glad to see the growth in the number of State-funded students studying overseas during the past 10 years.

In 1996, China sent only 2,000 students to study abroad. And the number of students who broke their pledges by not returning to China has decreased sharply.

Figures show that less than 90 per cent of State-funded students returned to the country after they finished their studies in 1996, but the percentage reached 99 per cent last year.

"The booming economy, increasing opportunity to start their own business, and preferential policies for students who return have drawn more students home," Zhang said.

Hu Haiyan, president of Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, was among the first batch of students the council sent overseas in 1996.

He said his sponsored one-year of study in the United States was even more fruitful than his previous two-year private studies in Germany.

"I was even more diligent, because I felt a strong sense of responsibility. I was spending money from our taxpayers."

Editor: Wing

By: Source:China Daily Website
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