The head of an association which represents study abroad companies, recruitment agencies and international departments throughout China has called for students to continue with their studying abroad plans despite the pandemic.
In a speech to members of the Chinese international education industry, Sang Peng of BOSSA emphasised not abandoning long-term plans because of short-term issues but advised a proactive approach to choosing an overseas study destination.
“Parents should carefully check and compare epidemic risk in different cities and regions if they are able to transfer their children to places with a lower risk,” he suggested.
“Students cannot just reenter the Chinese system; once you give up the Gaokao you can’t jump back in”
“For example, in the United States, many states have taken different measures to deal with the outbreak. Parents can avoid areas with large outbreaks such as New York and California and find areas who have controlled it better.”
For students who have already begun studying abroad, transferring to a Chinese university is not always possible and is a lengthy process decided on a case-by-case basis.
But for students who have chosen to opt-out of the state system and take the IB, A-levels and other international qualifications, going to a Chinese university is not an option.
Around 245,500 students are enrolled in K12 schools offering alternative qualifications.
“Students cannot just reenter the Chinese system; once you give up the Gaokao you can’t jump back in. I do know some families who have looked at that option, but they haven’t found any viable path and I’m not aware of any Chinese universities pushing that option,” said Julian Fisher of Venture Education.
“We’ve heard two families mention gap years, an idea virtually unheard of in China so that could be something that people either take through choice or necessity.
Fischer highlighted that most students are “just waiting to find out what will happen next”. Some boarding schools in the UK have offered January 2021, which may also be an option for universities.
“Chinese students have, in many cases, spent a decade planning to study abroad. They are positive about international education, excited to go abroad and increasingly open in their outlook,” he added.
“What they really need right now, is clear, decisive information, even if it means delays, so they can set their minds at ease.”