International students enrolled in universities in China will have to attend compulsory courses in Chinese language and culture beginning from next month, according to new rules announced by China’s ministry of education in conjunction with the ministries of foreign affairs and public security.
Higher education institutions, including foreign joint-venture universities in China, will also have to ensure international students are acquainted with Chinese laws, university discipline, as well as traditional Chinese culture and customs so that they can adapt better to the local environment, the new rules say.
Although Chinese language courses will be compulsory, foreign students will be allowed to write masters and PhD theses in languages other than Chinese.
The courses specially targeted for foreign students will take place during the first year of four-year degree programmes at the same time as Chinese students are attending compulsory courses in Marxist-Leninist thought, contemporary Chinese history and Socialism ‘with Chinese characteristics’.
A number of foreign joint-venture universities in China said they would be examining the new regulation closely to ensure “the correct measures” are in place but a number of them said they already had such courses available for foreign students.
According to the ministry of education, the number of foreign students has been growing at a rate of 35% year on year in recent years, and they currently number around 404,000.