Last month people around the world were horrified at a video of a 2-year-old Chinese girl being hit by a truck and ignored as pedestrians walked by, only to be struck again and left in the street until an elderly woman finally went to help. The child died in a hospital; her parents were — like millions of workers in China — rural migrants who had come to the city (Foshan in southern China, in this case) seeking work. The child’s terrible death and the lack of any response sparked an impassioned discussion online on sites like Weibo (a Twitter-like social media site, Twitter being banned in China) about the demise of the national character.
Rising Numbers of Chinese Students at US Colleges and Universities
Contrast that indifference to the all-out doting and lavishing-on of resources devoted to the children of the newly wealthy in China. They are the “4-2-1″ children — with four grandparents and two parents to the one grandchild allowed by China’s one-child policy — and those six older relatives have spared no resources. The New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education have collaborated on an article about the new phenomenon of growing numbers of Chinese national students enrolling in US colleges. There are now 40,000 Chinese students in US colleges and universities, the largest group of international students. At the University of Delaware, 517 Chinese students enrolled this year, a sharp contrast to the 8 who did in 2007.
American schools, struggling with budget cuts and reduced federal and other funding, have been only too eager to admit these students who, as the scion of China’s still brand new middle class, pay full tuition. But the students’ levels of preparation has been mixed to say the least, with many having to take additional courses in English as a second language. While the Chinese students met admissions criteria for their English, professors encountering the students have found that many struggle to write in English and more than a few have been found plagiarizing. Scott Stevens, director of the English Language Institute at the University of Delaware’s Newark campus, recalls
…how one student memorized four Wikipedia entries so he could regurgitate whichever one seemed most appropriate on an in-class essay — an impressive, if misguided, feat. American concepts of intellectual property don’t translate readily to students from a country where individualism is anathema.
Many Chinese students rely on agencies that help them write college admission essays and present themselves as viable candidates to American universities.
Zinch China, a consulting company that advises American colleges and universities about China, last year published a report based on interviews with 250 Beijing high school students bound for the United States, their parents, and a dozen agents and admissions consultants. The company concluded that 90 percent of Chinese applicants submit false recommendations, 70 percent have other people write their personal essays, 50 percent have forged high school transcripts and 10 percent list academic awards and other achievements they did not receive. The “tide of application fraud,” the report predicted, will likely only worsen as more students go to America.
Screenshot of YouTube video of Foshan incident
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