Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Explore China - Mother-daughter Duo Cherish China Trip

BY JOYCE MCKENZIE, Published: July 22, 2015

BETH CURTS Beth Curts, who met up with her daughter Betsey Giammattei in China, pose for a photo of them in Chinese garb in Bund, Shanghai.

TEMPLE TERRACE — Beth Curts and Betsey Giammattei recently experienced an adventure they likely will treasure the rest of their lives.

Last month the mother-daughter duo met up from opposite ends of the East Coast in China, the third-largest and most densely populated country in the world.

Giammattei, 21, a 2012 IB graduate of King High who in May of this year earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Barnard College in New York City, left the day after graduation on a six-week, mainly solo excursion.

Four weeks into her daughter’s stay in China, Curts flew from Tampa to join Giammattei and take part in her daughter’s college graduation gift to herself.

Giammattei developed a profound interest in the Asian country in 2009 while studying at China’s Qingdao University as part of a first-time collaborative effort between the University of South Florida, Ohio State and the office of Chinese Language Council International.

In addition, she took Chinese language classes at Barnard College and enrolled in a summer Chinese language course at the University of California Berkeley, where she met her boyfriend, Brendan, from San Francisco, where she will soon begin her career at IBM.

From the money she saved as the result of a paid college internship and babysitting jobs, she paid for her own airline tickets, meals, train fare to several provinces, lodging at hostels and miscellaneous expenses, including souvenirs.

Giammattei spent an entire year planning her trip, including purchasing her flight tickets in November when the cost was to her liking.

“I also got a book about China for Christmas and I read it from cover to cover,” she said.

Her overseas flight landed in Shanghai off the coast of the East China Sea and she made her way to Yunnan Province in southwestern China, where she mainly hiked and took photos of the area’s lush landscape. She also took a two-day cooking course in Dali, Yunnan.

“I love to cook, and the lessons were given out of a woman’s kitchen. Each day we’d go to the market and pick out what we needed,” said Giammattei, who described most of the Chinese dishes she ate as inexpensive, spicy and very tasty.

Giammattei blogged her daily experiences.

After a couple of weeks in Yunnan, she met up with Brendan in Chengdu, Sichuan, and during their week together they climbed Mount Emei, known as one of four sacred Buddhist mountains of China. In addition, they explored some of the valleys and gorges of what Giammattei described as ruggedly beautiful terrain.

She and her mother greeted one another in Guilin, Guangxi, and spent the next two weeks exploring big cities and playing the role of tourists. In Yangshuo, Guangxi, they went river rafting and experienced their first-ever mud bath inside a cave.

They also spent one night in a mosque and two nights in Longji, Guangxi, where they visited the area’s rice terraces.

And not at all surprising, the two women did some shopping.

“Betsey is the guru of haggling,” Curts said. “We bought lots of stuff so we also bought a new suitcase to bring it all home.”

Giammattei plans to keep up her command of the Chinese language and wants to return to China at some point in the not-too-distant future.

“But when I go it will be in the winter when it’s not so hot,” she said.

Curts was grateful to have the one-on-one time with her daughter, especially knowing those times will become less frequent after her child settles in on the West Coast, where she hopes to stay.

“I knew by the time that Bets bought her tickets (to China) she wasn’t going to be back in Tampa,” Curts said. “And I love to travel.”

Beth Curts and her daughter Betsey Giammattei enjoy their time together at Suzhou Lingering Gardens in Jiangsu Province, one of China’s most famous gardens. COURTESY PHOTO

Beth Curts and her daughter Betsey Giammattei admire the landscape of the Longji rice terraces they visited during their stay in China.
Source - tbo.com

China Relaxes Rules for Foreign Students to Work

K J M VARMA | BEIJING | JUL 26, 2015

BEIJING: Easing rules for foreign students to attract global talent, Chinese financial hub Shanghai has approved the first work permit for an international student who has just graduated doing away with mandatory two year experience.

The new policy do away with the requirement of at least two years of work experience for foreign students who graduate from Shanghai universities with a master's degree or above and seek a job in the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone or the Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone.

"Through my intern experience, in which I learned business practices in this international financial centre and the diligence and wisdom of the locals, I found that getting a job here would be a win-win option," said Albert Saputra, 26, from Indonesia, who will receive his two-year permit.

As China's most cosmopolitan city and a magnet for domestic and international talent, Shanghai released a new talent policy on June 29. (Read More - It is now easier to get a permanent residence permit in Shanghai!)

Foreign students graduating from Chinese universities with a bachelor's degree or above who aim to bring entrepreneurial skills to the city will get a two-year residence permit as well, according to the new policy, state-run China Daily reported on Sunday.

Saputra received a master's degree in marketing from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

He had interned since February at the Shanghai office of Nexans, a French cable manufacturer, but planned to return home for work.

Saputra said many of his peers intended to work in Shanghai after years of studying there, but they gave up because they had inadequate knowledge about the business environment and couldn't find internship experience.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

High-speed Supertrains - The Pride of China and Its People

In recent years, the construction of high-speed railway well developed in China. High speed train not only boosts tourism, economic development, but also changes lifestyle. High speed train has proved its advantages again during the travel peak season of the Spring Festival holiday.

China has the world's longest HSR network with 19,369.8 kilometers (6,852 miles) of track in service as of December 2014 which is more than the rest of the world's high speed rail tracks combined. China's high speed rail system also includes the world's longest line, the 2,298 km (1,428 mi) Beijing–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway.

Since high-speed rail service in China was introduced on April 18, 2007, and with in this short span of 8 years, the daily ridership has grown tremendously from 237,000 in 2007 to 2.49 million in 2014, making the Chinese HSR network the most heavily used in the world. Cumulative ridership had reached 2.9 billion by October 2014. This outstanding ridership is set to overtake Japan's Tōkaidō Shinkansen, the world's busiest high-speed rail line with cumulative ridership of over 5 billion since began service on 1 October 1964.

Over 85% of track on the Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Railway is laid on viaducts. Chinese builders use elevated lines to keep high-speed rail tracks straight and level over uneven terrain, and to save on land acquisition costs.

China's early high-speed supertrains were imported or built under technology transfer agreements with foreign train-makers including Alstom, Siemens, Bombardier and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Over the time, Chinese engineers then re-designed internal train components, built indigenous trains and made significant improvements that can reach operational speeds of up to 380 km/h (240 mph).

There are dozen of propitious articles written about China's HSR. Read more from below links:

  1. China's State of The Art Engineering Goes Global
  2. Engineering in China - High-speed Rail Network, A 'Calling Card' For China
  3. Engineering in China - The golden age of railway in China
  4. Engineering in China - China Competes with World's Renowned Leaders       in High Speed Rail
  5. Explore China - Another milestone for China's High Speed Rail
  6. The World's Largest Annual People Migration
  7. China’s ‘Most Beautiful’ High-speed Railway Line
  8. Spectacular Scenery Along Lanxin High-speed Rail
  9. Explore China - China May Build Railway to Nepal, with Tunnel Through Mount Everest
  10. China's High Speed Train - My Real Experience
  11. Engineering in China - Great and Efficient HSR Enhances Life and Brings People Closer
  12. Double-track Railway Between China ,Thailand to Break Ground

The Guiyang–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway under construction in Yangshuo, Guangxi in August 2013. This line traverses 270 caves and 510 valleys in the karst landscape of southwest China. Bridges and tunnels consist of 83% of this line's total length of 857 km, including 92% in Guizhou Province.[89] Travel time by train between Guizhou and Guangzhou was reduced from 20 hours to 4 hours.

Recently, a netizen in China drew a nationwide high-speed railway network in the format of a subway map. This straightforward and clear map saves travelers tons of work in planning for transportation.

"I got the itch to travel the moment I saw this map," a netizen comments after seeing the map.

The travelers in China find transportation more and more convenient with the expansion of high-speed rail network.

China currently owns the longest high-speed railroads in the world, 19,369.8 kilometers (6,852 miles), by the end of 2014, longer than all the other countries combined. The network is still rapidly expanding, turning the whole of China into the size of a city where transportation is as easily accessible as subway trains.

Take Beijing, capital of China, as an example, the high-speed rails to Shanghai, largest city in China, shorten traveling time to 5 hours over a distance of 1318 kilometers (818 miles). It runs on a busy schedule that a train sets out almost every other 20 minutes.

With a cheap price of 553 yuan ($89), it is not hard to imagine that someone gets off work in Beijing in the afternoon, buys a ticket at a vending machine, and rides his or her way to Shanghai for dinner. (people.daily.cn)

Saturday, 25 July 2015

More Chinese Companies Become World Top 500

Sinopec's logo is seen at one of its gas stations in Hong Kong in this April 26, 2010 file picture.[Photo/Agencies]

(Xinhua) : 2015-07-23

BEIJING -- A total of 106 Chinese companies made this year's Fortune Global 500 list, up from 100 firms in 2014, according to the annual ranking released Wednesday.

Sinopec Group, China's top oil refiner, was the second largest company in the world this year by total revenue, up from the third place in 2014, according to the new list topped by US retail giant Walmart.

PetroChina, the largest oil and gas producer in China, remained in fourth place this year, while the State Grid Corporation, the largest electric utilities company, remained seventh.

The number of Chinese companies in the list trailed only the US, which boasts 128 companies.

The world's 500 largest companies generated $31.2 trillion in revenues and $1.7 trillion in profits in 2014.

Private companies usually perform better when it comes to profitability State-owned enterprises continue to dominate China's top 500 companies in terms of revenue, but their private counterparts are gaining strength, Fortune Magazine said on Monday.

The total revenue of the 500 companies increased 10.4 percent last year to 28.9 trillion yuan ($4.6 trillion), equivalent to more than half of China's GDP. Total profits were 2.5 trillion yuan.

Oil giants China Petrochemical Corp and China National Petroleum Corp held onto their undisputed leading positions, coming first and second on the latest Fortune 500 list.

They generated 2.88 trillion yuan and 2.26 trillion yuan, respectively, in sales in 2013.

The sales of third-ranked China State Construction Engineering Corp were merely one-third of the CNPC's. But the financial sector stayed in first place in terms of profits.

Fortune said 29 financial institutions reported combined profits of 1.27 trillion yuan, accounting for more than half of the total profits of the 500 companies.

The "Big Four" State-owned banks remained the most profitable domestic companies, and their profits all grew at a double-digit pace last year.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd was the single most profitable Chinese company, with 262.6 billion yuan in profit in 2013.

At the other end of the scale, China Shipping Container Lines Co reported the largest loss last year, at 2.6 billion yuan.

The market value of the 500 companies declined slightly, from 24.9 trillion yuan in 2012 to 24.4 trillion yuan last year.

"After the second-longest suspension of initial public offerings, investors have a pessimistic view of the stock market. And the capital market's development this year is adding uncertainty to the direct financing of large companies," said Zhang Maiwen, executive editor-in-chief of Fortune China.

Thirty-six companies made their debuts on this year's list, including JD.com Inc, which was listed on the Nasdaq in May. Footwear producer Anta Sports Products Ltd fell from the list.

SOEs dominated it, taking 19 of the top 20 spots. Although SOEs are superior in scale, private companies take precedence in efficiency.

In terms of return on equity, an indicator usually used to measure profitability, private companies in general achieved a better performance than their SOE counterparts.

Home appliance maker Hisense Kelon Electrical Holdings Co had the highest ratio of 45 percent.

"China's private companies are small but strong," said Li Wei, a professor at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. "The big gap in scale between SOEs and private companies is a barrier for China's economic development.

"But on the bright side, if the government can treat SOEs and private companies equally in sectors that are dominated by SOEs, it will greatly enhance the efficiency of these sectors, which may foster 'big and strong' companies," Li said.

Zhejiang University of Science and Technology - Scholarship for 2015 Autumn Intake

Zhejiang University of Science and Technology (ZUST) is located in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province. ZUST is a full-time regular public university, which focuses on engineering, with additional disciplines in science, arts, economics, management, and education. Combining the technical know-how of German Applied Science Universities with its own experience, ZUST explores ways of cultivating international specialists with applied skills. 

ZUST has 13 schools and offers 50 undergraduate programs across a wide range of fields, among of which there are 3 national-level key majors--Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Technique, Art and Design and 4 English-taught majors---Civil Engineering, International Marketing, International Economics and Trade, and Computer Science and Technology. 

Furthermore, ZUST has 9 provincial-level key majors, 1 provincial-level key lab and 6 provincial-level key disciplines. Recently, there are about 21000 students, 1200 staff members and more than 1000 international students. ZUST is designated by the Chinese Government as a pilot institution of Chinese-German cooperation in cultivating high-level career-focused talents, as the standing organizer of “Chinese-German Education Forum”, and as one of the first pilot universities of implementing the national project of “Cultivating Excellent Engineers

Zhejiang University of Science and Technology is now offering below scholarship for international students for 2015 Autumn Intake. Application is open until 15th August 2015. Apply now to get "Scholarship" to study in China.

Send you enquiry and application to kylee.prec@gmail.com or info@studyinchina.com.my

Other English-taught Bachelor's Degree Programs Offered at Zhejiang University of Science and Technology:

1. Information and Computational Science(Statistics and Financial Actuarial Science),  4 Years , Tuition Fee - RMB 18,000 per year
2. Marketing ,4 Years, Tuition Fee - RMB 16,000 per year
3. International Economics and Trade, 4 Years, Tuition Fee - RMB 16,000 per year

4. Food Science and Engineering, 4 Years, Tuition Fee - RMB 18,000 per year
5. Civil Engineering, 4 Years, Tuition Fee - RMB 18,000 per year
6.Communication Engineering, 4 Years, Tuition Fee - RMB 18,000 per year

7. Computer Science and Technology(Information Technology), 4 Years, Tuition Fee - RMB 18,000 per year

Thursday, 23 July 2015

A Tale of a Medical Student - From High School Student to Pediatric Surgeon

Ghoorun Roshan Ara: On the Road toward her Dream

On only the third day of Ghoorun Roshan Ara’s training at Sun Yat-sen University’s First Affiliated Hospital, she was busy preparing to assist a surgery on a newborn baby. The baby’s diaphragm had cracked, leading to difficulty in breathing and meaning that without surgery, the baby would have had less than 48 hours to live. Roshan watched its bluish face in the incubator, feeling a surge of anxiety. There were only 27 hours left for the doctors to perform the surgery—and she was going to assist them. Fortunately, the surgery progressed smoothly. She watched as the baby’s face turned pink, hearing its weak but steady breathing, Roshan finally smiled with delight. 

This is just one of Roshan’s many over the course of her seven and a half years studying medical sciences at Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU). “I didn’t realize that I have made it. I don’t feel like I am going to graduate this summer, because I have a long way to go in studying Pediatric Surgery… I want to be a pediatric surgeon.” When she recalled her days at SYSU and talked about her dreams, her eyes shined with excitement and expectation. 

After graduating from senior high school in Mauritius in 2007, she packed her bags and flew thousands of miles from home to pursue her dreams in China. At that time, everything she knew about the country came from television; she recalled thinking only that China was a place where people “all used chopsticks”, embodying a totally different culture from what she was familiar with. She was excited and a little worried. It took her five months to get used to her life in China—living with other students, learning about Chinese culture, joining a cooking club, and making friends. Everything went well, except for the Chinese language. Though she attended the MBBS program taught in English, she knew that she had to conquer Chinese to get more involved in the community. She joined the campus English Corner, practiced Chinese with language-exchange partners, and attended Chinese courses, through which she picked up on the language one step at a time.

Roshan assisting a surgery

In her fourth year, Roshan took up her internship position in one of the University’s affiliated hospitals. “At the University, my favorite course was Surgery.” When asked about her internship experiences, Roshan mentioned this interest with excitement. In the hospital she encountered a few patients who were in bad condition and could be saved or helped to recover more quickly by means of a successful surgery. “My internship made me realize that I really did have a passion for this field. At that point I determined that I should fight to become a surgeon in the future.” 

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree from the Zhongshan School of Medicine, she continued her postgraduate studies in The Sixth Affiliated Hospital of SYSU, specializing in General Surgery. The first few months are always a bit uneasy for a new comer, especially for an international medical student in a foreign environment. She encountered a language barrier at work, which perplexed her for about a month. As she described, her lack of practical surgery experience often left her in awkward circumstances. On the first surgery that she assisted, she found it a bit difficult and could barely follow the instructions. “I cried a lot at that time…What I feared was that I would not have a chance to perform surgery again. You know, no surgery means no practice, which means you are learning nothing.” Despite these waves of frustration, she did not retreat in the face of these difficulties; she continued to learn by devouring any surgical videos and books she could find. At the same time, she also established a good rapport with her professors and their colleagues. “By and by, they began to know me better, and taught me everything, such as how to communicate with the patients, how to do surgeries in a proper way, etc. They helped me a lot and I am very grateful for that.”

Roshan (second from left) with her classmates in the thesis defense

Time flies; the final year of Roshan’s master’s degree was suddenly upon her. Since last October, she has had the opportunity to undergo a short-term training in SYSU’s First Affiliated Hospital, where she has been able to study and practice the subject she has always longed for: Pediatric Surgery. “I am very fond of kids. Since childhood I have dreamed of becoming a pediatric surgeon.” She smiled like a blooming flower, her dream seemingly within reach, though it is challenging and sometimes even distressing, as there may be situations in which those little lives cannot be saved through surgeries. Being a surgeon means shouldering tremendous responsibility. “Some people advised me not to pursue a career as a pediatric surgeon; it is very hard.” She said. “I met some parents who sent a thank-you message to the doctors who have devoted themselves to the work, even though we were unable to save the life of their child. I am impressed and I have decided to continue to do Ph.D. at SYSU, no matter what.” She had been through a lot on the road to realizing her dream—hearing the cries of desperately ill children; toiling for hours to master surgical techniques; adjusting to a new language and culture; and forging lasting bonds with professors, doctors, friends, patients, and their parents.

 "If you really love what you do, you will not think about how long it takes. What I want to share with other SYSU students is this: do not be afraid, just fight for your dream," said Roshan, the girl who, step-by-step, is making progress on the path to her dream.

Roshan (right) with her supervisor Prof. Ren Donglin from The Sixth Affiliated Hospital

Source - Office for Overseas Promotion, SYSU

Quick Link - All You Need to Know About Further Education in China

Olga Fedorenko: Russian Graduate Puts her Degree to Work

Yuanfen, or “fate”, is the word that Olga Fedorenko uses to describe how she ended up studying for her bachelor’s degree at Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU). For the seventeen year old Olga, the country seemed to be a land of limitless opportunity. “From the very beginning I had a huge crush on China, because everything seemed to be so big, so endless. But what I loved most of all was the feeling of freedom I got, well, it’s like you can do whatever you want without caring about what other people think about it,” she said recently. 

Olga receiving her BA degree from SYSU President (Photo taken by Qin Zhiwei)

Olga arrived at SYSU to enroll in the Business Chinese bachelor’s degree course at the School of Chinese as a Second Language. Her father had been doing business in China for years, and Guangzhou is well known as China’s major trading hub and the focal point for the Pearl River Delta manufacturing and industrial area. This meant that studying at SYSU was a perfect fit for Olga. Beyond just the academic side of her time here, she has also grown as a person, saying: “I think I have become more open-minded. It happens when you meet people from all over the world…My best memories here are the memories of the people I was lucky to have met. You know, all the stories that I’m going to keep in my heart forever… Good, good times.”

Olga (front) posing with her classmates in front of the University's motto (Photo provided by Olga)

When looking at how comfortable Olga is in this international and face-paced environment, it would be easy to assume that she grew up in one of Russia’s leading metropolises, like Moscow or St. Petersburg. In reality, the opposite is true. “Oh you can’t even imagine how small my home town is! But this made my first impression about China even more intense,” she said, adding, “By the way, the Chinese and many foreigners always make fun of my hometown’s name, because if you translate it to Chinese it sounds like '矿泉城,'" (a Chinese word meaning something like “Mineral Spring City”).

When asked about her advice for other Russian students considering studying in China, she first cracked a joke (“Come on guys, there are already too many here!”) before getting serious, saying: “To be serious, I’d recommend future Russian students to choose a good well-known university like SYSU. According to the experience I got while compiling my dissertation survey, SYSU takes teaching foreigners very seriously.”

Olga (fourth from left) with friends and classmates on a school trip (Photo provided by Olga)

She has put her Chinese language skills to good use, joining her family’s business in trading electronics. She described her work with characteristic modesty: “Well, it’s nothing special, because Guangzhou is the trading capital of China, so it was quite obvious for me to do some business here. My family does business in electronic spare parts and accessories, and what I do is mostly the purchasing part of it.” Still, she cuts an extremely impressive figure, having undergone a transformation from a bright-eyed seventeen year old yearning for experience abroad to a fully-fledged business woman deeply immersed in the lightning-fast world of international commerce. 

When asked about looking forward to the future, Olga brushed the question aside, saying: “To be honest, I don’t like long-term plans. It’s quite a hard thing to do. I like changes, and what I see for the next five years is staying (or you can call it moving) somewhere in between Russia and China.” No matter what her future holds, Olga’s time at SYSU has helped shaped her into who she is now, and helped propel her forward on toward her next adventure.

Source: Office for Overseas Promotion, SYSU

Quick Link - All You Need to Know About Further Education in China

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Asian Universities - The Rising Star in Higher Education

Still the rising star. Three Chinese universities are now in the top 200. Wu Hong/EPA

Regional rankings an important measure of investment and academic influence

Nearly one in eight of the world’s top 200 universities, as ranked in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014/15, are from Asia. The same is true for one in five universities in the top 200 of the QS World University Rankings for 2014/15. Say what you will about rankings but the gains that Asian institutions have made on the international tables in recent years do provide an interesting indication of the growing academic influence of the region.

“The world expects that Asia will be the next global higher education superpower, after Europe and North America,” says Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education Rankings. Indeed, the region added four more institutions to the THE’s top 200 this year alone and, at the current pace, could account for a quarter of the world’s top 200 institutions by 2040.

This is no mere matter of methodology or obscure numbers games. The growing footprint of institutions from emerging economies reflects the rapid expansion of higher education in a number of countries, and their very significant investment in building capacity for both teaching and research. We are only now starting to track the impact of this in terms of mobility but the signs are there.

To take one high-profile example alone, Chinese enrolment in the US has seen a pronounced shift in recent years. We noted recently that the flow of Chinese students into US undergraduate programmes is speeding up at the same time as demand for American graduate programmes (the historic core of Chinese enrolment in the US) has slowed. There are a number of factors in play here but one is the growing academic strength of Chinese universities. “China has pumped enormous resources into its graduate education capacity across thousands of universities,” says the Institute of International Education’s Peggy Blumenthal. She also notes that many professors teaching at those universities have a Western education: “They are beginning to teach more like we do, publish like we do, and operate their labs like we do.”

In other words, it is increasingly the case that Chinese students can access world-class graduate programmes at home, and that more students are making that choice.

Drilling down with regional rankings

In a further recognition of the growing influence of institutions outside of North America and Europe, both Times Higher Education and QS have introduced various regional rankings over the last two to three years. In addition to their annual global tables, both now also publish separate rankings for Asia and key emerging markets.

The University of Tokyo, National University of Singapore, and University of Hong Kong lead the THE Asia University Rankings for 2015. However, as an accompanying Times Higher Education commentary points out, “The balance of power [is] now tilting towards Mainland China.”

The 2015 THE table for Asia lists 19 Japanese universities in the top 100, down from 22 in 2013. More to the point, 15 of those have slipped in the ranking this year, losing an average of nearly six places in the 2015 list.

Meanwhile, Chinese higher education is trending in the opposite direction on the THE ranking. There are now 21 Chinese universities in the THE top 100, up from 15 in 2013, and many are climbing up to higher positions.

The same pattern is playing out in 2015’s QS University Rankings for Asia where China accounts for 25 of the top 100 universities and 16 have moved up in rank this year. “Japan is careful to maintain the leading edge of its very top universities such as Tokyo and Kyoto,” says Simon Marginson, professor of international higher education at the University College London. “But it has been less committed than has China to pumping more investment into the universities on the next level.”

BRIC houses

If China is an important locus of academic influence in Asia, other emerging markets, notably Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Brazil, have also begun to play more prominent roles in their respective regions.

More broadly, overarching global trends of economic and population growth make their own case for paying more attention to the developing higher education capacity of key emerging markets. “Student enrolment has increased dramatically to the point where more than one in three students in the world today live in a BRICs country,” points out University World News. But where opening up access to more students is one thing, sustaining substantial investments in research and quality of education is another, and this is where an expanding field of regional rankings helps to provide some useful insights.

The Times Higher Education BRICs and Emerging Economies Rankings looks at detailed data for institutions from 18 markets, including the BRICs of course (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) but also other emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Europe.

In some respects, these regional tables represent a watching brief on the shifting tides of academic influence and investment around the world, but they are also a means of identifying the next institutions that may break through to the global ranking tables. “Overall, ten universities from emerging economies made the 2014/15 global top 200 list, compared with just five in 2013/14,” notes Mr Baty.

Not surprisingly, China leads the Times Higher Education BRICs table as well with 27 institutions in the top 100, followed by Taiwan with 19 and India with 11.

QS, meanwhile, offers a ranking dedicated to a five-country BRICs group: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Russia figures more prominently in the QS University Rankings: BRICs 2015 with 53 institutions in the top 200 (second only to China’s 67 entrants). At the top end of the ranking, however, China’s begins to separate itself again with 21 universities in the top 50, compared to ten for Brazil, nine for India, and only seven for Russia. As QS points out, China is likely to maintain its hold on regional tables (as well as its stronger showing in global tables) for the foreseeable future: “China now spends more on research and development than any country other than the US. It is forecast to overtake the entire European Union and the US on this measure by the end of the current decade, with a national target of investing 2.5% of GDP on research.”

In contrast to THE’s unified emerging markets table, QS also offers separate rankings for the Middle East and North Africa and also for Latin America. Saudia Arabia factors significantly in the former, with three of the four top-ranked institutions and a solid 19 universities in the top 100. Brazil is the dominant country in the Latin American ranking, accounting for half of the top ten universities and 17 of the top 50.

Suggesting that even more nuance in ranking tables is on the horizon, Times Higher Education has signalled its intention to further expand its regional tables with a special “snapshot” ranking of South African institutions this year. Described as a pilot effort, the snapshot ranks the top 15 South African universities by research reputation. (Source - ICEF Monitor)

Link - More about Asia University Rankings

Quick Link - All You Need to Know About Further Education in China

77% of Parents Would Consider Study Abroad for Children, Says HSBC Report

Date - 15 July 2015

More than three quarters of parents who took part in a worldwide survey carried out by UK-based multinational banking and financial services company HSBC would consider sending their children abroad for university. Parents in Asia, especially, are willing to overcome cost barriers to give their children an international education.

Of the 5,550 parents surveyed across 16 countries, 77% said they would consider having their children study abroad at either undergraduate or postgraduate level to help them stand out in competitive job markets.

The Learning for Life report revealed widespread concerns about employability, with 47% of respondents saying they think it will be harder for their children’s generation to find a job after graduation than it was for their own.

Other key benefits of studying abroad that parents identified included giving students the opportunity to become more knowledgeable about the wider world (78%) and to experience different cultures (51%).

According to the report, “Parents in Asian countries are most receptive to the idea of sending their child abroad for undergraduate study”.

The results show that Malaysia had the highest positive response rate, with 80% of parents saying they would consider it, followed by almost three quarters of all parents surveyed in Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore. Read More -The Value of Education in Malaysians Perspective

Parents in India (88%) were most likely to consider postgraduate study abroad for their children, followed by Turkey (83%), Malaysia (82%) and China (82%).

In contrast, just 52% of parents in Australia, 53% in Canada and 59% in the USA said they would consider sending their children abroad for postgraduate study.

Cost is the main barrier to study abroad, according to the report. Around a third of the parents who would not consider sending their children overseas to study, said that they would like to but could not afford it. Read more -International Study is Expensive: Weigh Costs against Quality

The report also notes that parents’ awareness of the cost of an overseas education varies according to their children’s age. A higher proportion of parents with pre-primary aged children said they would consider sending them abroad for university education, than those with children of university age – 82% compared with 72%.

The proportion of parents who would consider study abroad for children of different ages

Correspondingly, the proportion of parents concerned about cost also increases as their children get older. Less than a third of parents with pre-primary school age children who would not consider sending them to university abroad gave cost as the reason, compared with 42% of those with children of university age.

However, almost a quarter of respondents – 24% – said they would pay 50% more for an overseas degree than for a domestic one, while 45% would pay 25% more.

The proportion of parents willing to pay more was particularly high in China, where 69% of parents said they would pay a quarter more than at home, followed by 62% in Hong Kong and 59% in both India and Taiwan.

“Our survey told us parents believe an international education can help their child stand out from their peers in a job market which has become increasingly difficult,” Caroline Connellan, Head of UK Wealth at HSBC, told The PIE News. Read more - New Study Makes The Link Between Study Abroad and Employability

“This is why many parents – especially in Asia – are willing to send children abroad at university, and pay more for the experience compared to what they would pay to educate their child at home,” she explained.

The report is the second in a series, whose findings “have helped HSBC to understand and meet the needs of its customers worldwide”, it states.

Source - Pie News

Friday, 3 July 2015

Explore China - Yunhe Rice Terraces, China’s Most Beautiful Terraces

The Yunhe Rice Terraces are recognized as the most beautiful rice terraces in China. The entire area of the Yunhe Terraces is 51 square kilometers (20 square miles), covering mountains, hills, and valleys.

Scenery: The altitude of the terraces ranges from 200 to 1,400 meters (650 to 4,600 feet), which gives Yunhe Rice Terraces amazing scenery, with seas of clouds in the early morning, especially during spring and summer. Being further north, you are more likely to see terrace scenery with snow or rime in the winter. In the Yunhe Rice Terraces, the best times for photography are early morning and at dusk.

Rare minority culture: You can learn about and experience the culture and customs of the She ethnic group (畲族), a minority with a very small population in China.

Transportation: The terraces are in Chongtou District of Yunhe County, Lishui Prefecture, Zhejiang Province, East China, only 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Lishui City. It is takes about 2 hours from Wenzhou to the Yunhe Rice Terraces, and 3 hours from Hangzhou to the terraces. (Source - chinahighlight.com)

And Yunhe Rice Terrace located in Lishui, east China’s Zhejiang provinces has the the most spectacular views when shrouded in the mist. It is also a good choice to appreciate lotus in Jinhua, Zhejiang in June. (Photos/chinapic.people.com.cn)

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Gaining the China Experience

More and more foreign students are coming to learn about the country

By Wang Hairong

Foreign students studying at the School of International and Public Affairs, Jilin University, visit a primary school in Wanjinta Township, Nong’an County of Jilin Province, on June 7 (XINHUA)

As summer progresses, the graduation season is getting into full swing. Jonio Da Anunciacao, a student from Timor-Leste is adding finishing touches to his master's thesis on eco-tourism development. As a student in the International MBA program in Beijing Normal University, he is to graduate at the end of this July.

The 28 students in his class came from 14 countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America. They started the program in the fall of 2014. Their tuition and living expenses are covered by scholarships offered by the Chinese Government.

In addition to studying China's economy, history, political development and other general courses such as statistics, the students were also given field trip opportunities.

In this April, Jonio and his classmates visited Yantian Village of Fenggang Town in south China's Guangdong Province and the nearby cities of Dongguan and Shenzhen to learn about the area's social and economic development. In May, they traveled to the cities of Lanzhou and Dingxi in northwest China's Gansu Province. The curriculum requirements include two field trips, one to an economically advanced area and one to a less-developed rural area so that students can gain a balanced and in-depth understanding of China's development.

After visiting greenhouses and agriculture-related industries in Gansu, Jonio was very impressed with the agricultural development taking place there that has lifted so many people out of poverty. "The land is not fertile, but people are very hard-working," he said.

Foreign students in China

At present, a large number of foreign students are studying in China. In 2014, a total of 377,054 foreign students were studying in the country, up 5.77 percent from the year 2013, according to data released by the Ministry of Education of China. The students came from 203 countries and regions across the world.

They were enrolled in 775 educational organizations including institutes of higher learning and research institutes. Of the total, 43.6 percent were in degree programs, with 12.7 percent pursuing postgraduate degrees.

Most of the students were studying in large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and in provinces with rich educational resources such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Liaoning, Shandong, Hubei, Heilongjiang and Fujian.

The top 15 source countries for these foreign students were South Korea, the United States, Thailand, Russia, Japan, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, France, Viet Nam, Germany, Mongolia, Malaysia and the UK.

A report in 2014 revealed that the growth in the number of foreign students in China slowed down in the last two years running. According to breakdown of the figure, the growth in the number of foreign students from developed countries traveling to the Middle Kingdom slowed or even experienced negative growth, while the proportion of students from developing countries increased. The report was released this March by Eol.cn, an educational portal, in conjunction with China's University and College Admission System.

The report also showed that students from developed countries are inclined toward studying the Chinese language, while those from developing countries prefer to take degree courses in such fields as medical science and engineering.

Chen Zhiwen, Chief Editor of Eol.cn, also noted that growth in the number of foreign students from traditional source regions such as South Korea and the United States was weak, while growth in those from Africa and Europe was accelerating.

He said that Thailand has become the third largest source of foreign students in China and in the past decade, the number of students from Pakistan has increased more than seven fold, and those from Kazakhstan has increased more than 15 fold.

Economic factors such as cheaper tuition remain the main factor that draws foreign students to China, Chen said.

The Ministry of Education's survey showed that universities charge foreign students an average annual tuition of about 20,000 yuan ($3,226), 25,000 yuan ($4,032) and 32,000 yuan ($5,161) for bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs respectively. Of all the students, 9.8 percent were sponsored by a Chinese government scholarship.

A rewarding experience

In addition to making savings, many international students have chosen to study in China because they think that the experience in the country will make them more competitive in the job markets back home.

Jonio said that his proficiency in the Chinese language and his experience in China helped him land a job.

In 2006, then a college student in conflict-ridden East Timor, Jonio applied and received a scholarship to study in Beijing International Studies University, previously known as Beijing Second Foreign Language Institute.

He spent the first year in Beijing studying Chinese, and the ensuing four years majoring in tourism management. He and two other foreign students were placed into a regular class for Chinese students, where the courses were taught in Chinese. With help from local students, he overcame his language difficulties and received his bachelor's degree in 2011.

Originally, he chose to study tourism management because he saw many Chinese tourists in his country and he thought the degree would help him get a job in the tourist industry.

After returning to his country with the bachelor's degree, he found a job in the East Timor branch of a large Chinese company, where he worked from 2011 until 2013. Then he got an offer from an East Timor government department, through which he obtained a scholarship to study in the international MBA program in Beijing Normal University. Jonio said that he would go back to his country to start the new job after graduation.

Better understanding

It is not only individual students who would like to increase their competitiveness in the job market through foreign education, entire countries are also seeking to strengthen cooperation through educational exchanges.

On April 22, while addressing the Asian-African Summit held in Jakarta, Indonesia, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that "in the next five years, China will offer 100,000 training opportunities for candidates from developing countries in Asia and Africa and host the annual Asia-Africa Youth Festival, inviting a total of 2,000 Asian and African youths to China."

During the China-Latin American and Caribbean Countries Leaders (CELAC) Meeting held in Brasilia, capital of Brazil, on July 18, 2014, Xi announced that, "China has started to work on the provision of 6,000 government scholarships and 6,000 training opportunities to CELAC members in the coming five years."

On July 10, 2014, the 100,000 Strong Foundation, housed at the American University in Washington, D.C., revealed that more than 100,000 American students had studied in China since 2010.

The foundation was set up in response to U.S. President Barack Obama's call, made in 2009 during his first visit to China, for 100,000 Americans to study in China by the end of 2014. The foundation's mission is to strengthen Sino-U.S. relations and ensure that the next generation of Americans are equipped to engage effectively with China.

In 2013, the UK launched Generation UK-China, a British Council program which aims to send 80,000 British students to study or intern in China by 2020. The British Council said that experience in China is an excellent investment in a student's future.

According to a press release by the British Government dated May 27, 2014 that echoed comments made by British former secretary of state for business, skills and innovation Vince Cable, the global center of gravity is shifting eastward to major economic powerhouses like China. Citing new independent research showing that a lack of skills in languages including Chinese in the UK is costing the economy about ?48 billion, he said, "I don't want young British people to get left behind."

To facilitate educational exchanges, China has signed degree and diploma recognition agreements with 41 countries and regions that would allow qualifications and awards to be valid in both countries.

Chinese universities are launching more programs for foreign students. Shanghai Summer School, launched in 2008 in more than 10 universities across the city, offers summer courses on Chinese language and Chinese culture from June to August. This summer, Shanghai Summer School is going to start a new program to attract 20 students from countries lying along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

Nonetheless, promotional activities, expanded enrollment and more scholarships alone are not enough to attract more foreign students to China, said Xiong Bingqi, Deputy Director of the 21st Century Education Development Research Institute.

He said that providing more scholarships while lowering admission thresholds will only serve to attract students of a lower caliber.

Xiong told the Beijing-based Global Times, "The solution should be building a modern higher education system, in line with international standards and allowing our universities to have autonomy so as to fully integrate into international competition within higher education."

Copyedited by Kieran Pringle (Source - beijing review)

Despite Growing Tensions, US Must Move Forward on Cooperation With China

Posted: 06/30/2015

We routinely slam each other's records on human rights. We accuse them of stealing commercial secrets, as we unabashedly acknowledge our own attempts to uncover security secrets. We debate which of our systems of government -- capitalism or communism -- truly works best, and we squabble over our respective responsibilities in addressing the potential catastrophic impact of climate change.

So goes the relationship between the U.S. and China. Ours is the most important bilateral relationship in the world and one that continues to change rapidly as China rises to the status of a major regional power. The rest of the international community watches this relationship carefully and understands the importance of it. Indeed, it has become clear that almost every one of the world's problems become easier to solve if our relationship is on solid footing.

Currently, our two nations are wading through a period of considerable tensions over a host of major issues, including, among others, global warming, nuclear stockpiling in North Korea, Taiwanese independence, human rights violations, cyber espionage, business regulation and maritime behavior.

On most, if not all, of these issues, sizable gaps exist between the U.S. and China. But the good news is that both countries want to avoid war and reject using lethal means to change the status quo. We seek to avoid major confrontation, and, what's more, we actually have a number of complementary interests. We share a desire for addressing climate change, and, though we differ sharply in our opinions over the effectiveness of a capitalist or socialist market economy, generally speaking we both aim for overall economic and financial stability.

By many measures China is leaping forward. Economically, China has invested unprecedented amounts of money in research and development and has established an enormous and ever-growing pool of scientists and engineers. Its emphasis has been on the quality, not just quantity, of growth and in making the state sector more efficient, and makes more room for market products. Militarily, even though troop recruitment remains an issue, the Chinese possess a large army, powerful missiles, impressive cyber-weaponry, improved nuclear capabilities and a growing fleet of nuclear submarines that reflects the country's deep concern over sea-lane security near its shores. Its military would, nonetheless, have problems fighting a modern war, and has severe challenges of recruitment and modernization.

China's president Xi Jinping has embraced a strong leadership position both on the domestic and foreign policy front. He distributes economic aid, travels abroad frequently, and he speaks openly about establishing a new model that would place China front and center on the international scene. His message is clear; China is now a great power. As a subtle -- or not so subtle -- reminder of his state's influence in the region, he routinely presses the point that the people of Asia will solve the problems of Asia. To this end, under Xi's leadership, China has become more assertive with its neighbors.

China has an underlying confidence that it will eventually replace the U.S., which it sees as a failing system, as the world's leading power. At the same time, many Western scholars believe that ethnic unrest, political repression, and disaffected Chinese elites will ultimately bring about the end of communist rule. Nevertheless, the words and actions coming from China suggest a nation that is determined to continue its growth and embrace an even greater role in global affairs, whether we like it or not.

For now, the economies of our two nations remain deeply intertwined. U.S.-China trade represents more than $600 billion. Around 275,000 Chinese students now study in the U.S., while 25,000 Americans study in China. China continues to serve as a major agricultural importer of U.S. food and grain and also as a massive financial lender. Of course, China's economic problems, including deep-rooted corruption and environmental devastation, are huge negatives.

Up to now, our policy of constructive engagement, which spans several U.S. presidents, has centered on welcoming a peaceful and prosperous China, one that contributes to the stability of Asia and chooses to play a responsible role in this region of the world. But that type of engagement has been thrown into doubt as insufficient.

Moving forward, we must build on our commonalities. We must keep talks going even when tensions arise, and we have to accept that change in China won't happen as quickly as we would like. Most importantly, we need to persuade China that its interests lie in assuming shared responsibility for global leadership, and to take responsibility commensurate with its wealth and power.

Make no mistake: This is a challenging time in our relationship as the U.S. seeks to maintain its dominance in the world while China seeks to flex its growing economic and political power. As the military forces are being ramped up on both sides, some in the U.S. argue for continued U.S. dominance in Asia while others contend for, not a retreat from Asia, but for more of a balance of forces. Despite our disagreements, though, we must look for avenues of greater cooperation and collaboration, avoid surprises, respect the realities of the region, maintain our leadership in all its phases, find a seat for China at the international table, and deal from a position of strength.

Again, the world is watching, and where we go from here in our relationship is the most important factor in the peace, security and stability in the new world coming.

Source - huffingtonpost.com. By Lee H. Hamilton is a Distinguished Scholar, Indiana University School of Global and International Studies; Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs; Chairman, Center on Congress at Indiana University. He served as U.S. Representative from Indiana's 9th Congressional District from 1965-1999.