Lilly Cheng leads Chinese students in counting in English at San Diego State University. Peggy Peattie • U-T
Jack Wu, 7, and other Chinese students receive
chocolates as gifts on Friday. Peggy Peattie • U-T
As China continues its path toward superpower status, its educational leaders are looking to San Diego and other cities abroad in forging partnerships that will reshape Chinese classrooms — from kindergarten to college.
Still recovering from the Cultural Revolution that shut down China’s universities, the nation’s government officials are working to improve the quality of higher-education offerings. At the same time, China is striving to prepare a new generation of K-12 students for the economic opportunities that await them.
Since 2010, China has sent more college students overseas than any other country. It is establishing international education collaborations and exchange programs at a dizzying rate.
The latest in a string of delegations of young Chinese children arrived in San Diego last week to attend summer school with local students and tour area universities under an arrangement with the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University and the Barnard Mandarin Chinese Magnet School.
The goal is to promote an exchange of language and culture. The Chinese students — as young as 6 years old — also came with cash and extravagant shopping lists for items such as Coach and Louis Vuitton bags, Nike shoes and Godiva chocolates.
“I call them the little emperors and empresses,” said Lilly Cheng, managing director of the Confucius Institute. “All the made-in-China stuff is from these people who are entrepreneurs. They all have a single child. They all want their children to get the best education they can get, and they want them to come here.”
Faculty members at Chinese universities are eager to form exchange programs in the United States, in part to learn what it takes to make a top academic program.
This fall, the University of California San Diego will open the Fudan-UC Center on China through a partnership with Fudan University in Shanghai, a venture that’s been billed as the first such initiative by a major Chinese university.
The center will serve all UC campuses by providing lectures, symposiums and access to databases for researchers and students at the system’s 10 campuses — from San Diego to Davis.
Meanwhile, China has given New York University once-inconceivable access to its country by allowing the institution to operate a full, degree-issuing liberal arts campus in Shanghai next year. “Classes will be conducted in English and in accordance with the principles of academic freedom associated with American colleges and universities,” according to a news release issued by NYU.
Other American universities have similar ventures in the works, including UC Berkeley, Yale and Duke.
At the University of Southern California, an institution known for its large enrollment of international students, China surpassed India three years ago as the largest source of foreign students, said dean of admission Tim Brunold.
Six years ago, USC admitted about a dozen Chinese undergraduate students. This fall, about 150 Chinese undergraduates and some 200 graduate students are set to start classes there.
“China is definitely the story,” said Brunold, who regularly travels to Asia to recruit students. “You almost can’t turn a corner in China without running into somebody from another (U.S. higher-education) institution.”
Article source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/01/prweb4978144.htm