BEIJING—China’s university system is growing. However, the People’s Republic of China still lags behind the U.S. and other Western nations. Chinese students increasingly are heading to America for higher education.
While recently playing tourist in Beijing I spoke to a number of young Chinese. They were bright and inquisitive, ambitious and nationalistic. They worried about finding good jobs and were irritated by government restrictions on their freedom.
Beijing’s global influence depends upon domestic economic growth and political stability. And that ultimately depends upon China’s young.
The PRC’s university students today are most likely to become the country’s leaders tomorrow. The number of college graduates has increased to seven million, a four-fold jump over the last decade.
While the number of universities in China is growing, few have national, let alone international, reputations. Undoubtedly that will change over time. Today, however, competition for the few available spots at top schools is extraordinary.
For instance, Peking and Tsinghua Universities are the only Chinese universities among the world’s top 100. They have space only for 6000 new students a year.
Obviously, far more Chinese students could succeed, indeed thrive, at fine universities. So more than 400,000 young Chinese are heading abroad every year.