BEIJING: In recent years, China has emerged as a popular destination for Pakistani students seeking overseas study, as the two countries gradually enhance cooperation in trade, economy and infrastructure.
Around 22,000 students from Pakistan are currently studying in the country, according to the Pakistani Embassy in China. Approximately 2,500 new Pakistani students enrolled in Chinese universities last year.
In 2016, a total of 1,350 Pakistani students registered for the Chinese Proficiency Test at the Confucius Institute in Islamabad, more than double the previous year, said Zhang Daojian, the Chinese president of the institute. The figure rose to 3,600 last year, he added.
Pakistan has become China’s third largest source of international students, after South Korea and Thailand, moving up by 6 places since 2012.
The two countries’ traditional friendship is the first reason that Pakistani students choose to study in China. For most of the young Pakistanis, the friendship is not merely a political one, and students also have an affection towards China.
Visa facilitation and reasonable tuition fees have also contributed to the rising trend, said a Pakistani education consultant with 10 years of experience in the field.
A Pakistani student who decided against his original plan of studying in the west, instead opting for China, said the mastery of Chinese has become an advantage in Pakistan as the Belt and Road construction continues to expand its influence. He added that the competitiveness of Chinese diplomas is also on the rise since China has developed rapidly in various fields over recent years.
Moreover, the Chinese government has been offering scholarships and subsidies for students from Belt & Road countries. For example, nearly a quarter of all Pakistani students in China came on a scholarship. Furthermore, of all students that received a Chinese scholarship in 2016, 61 percent were from Belt & Road countries, 8.4 percent more than in 2012.
A Pakistani overseas returnee told People’s Daily that Chinese enterprises are playing a much bigger role in Pakistan’s economic and social progress today and working for these companies is a way to help develop his own country.
Courtesy: People’s Daily China