(PresidentialInsider.com)- The Chinese Communist Party just ended 286 Sino-foreign college programs that allowed Chinese students to study abroad and obtain their diplomas – a move that few would have predicted coming given the Chinese government’s keenness to send Chinese citizens overseas.
Chinese state-run media and propaganda outlets reported the change on August 15, just two weeks before the new academic year starts in China. Under the old programs, high school and university graduates in China could choose to study at foreign universities, typically up to two years. It was a project that gave Chinese people a greater understanding of the world but also gave the Chinese Communist Party an opportunity to plant academics and students in universities all over the globe.
30 universities involved in the 41 eligible programs were all in the United States. It was one of the top chosen countries for Chinese students, with European countries like the United Kingdom following closely behind. Some examples of the courses that Chinese citizens would enroll in include a master’s degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering at Georgia’s Institute of Technology, and a master’s degree in Telecommunications Management at the Stevens Institute of Technology.
It remains unclear why the Chinese Communist Party would give up this opportunity to plant academics in foreign universities and academic institutions, and these specific 286 programs were canceled. Hundreds of other similar programs are still in place, allowing students to study abroad, and very little has been offered in the way of an explanation.
However, some commentators have suggested that it might a part of the Chinese Communist Party’s recent efforts to take back control of the education system. This month, local governments in Hainan, Beijing, and Zhejiang have all banned primary and middle school teachers from using any foreign materials in classes.
Is China reversing course and looking inwards for its future, in the wake of the global backlash over the COVID-19 pandemic?