China: Around The Nation

Top Chinese university criticised for lowering admission standards for foreign students

Beijing’s Tsinghua University to allow overseas students to apply with only a moderate proficiency in Putonghua

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 3:24pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 3:24pm

The prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing has for the first time allowed international students to apply without taking a written test, causing concerns that it would create a loophole for abuse, reports.

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The University, named the 57th best worldwide and 4th best in Asia by the US News and World Report Best Global University Rankings in 2017, recently changed its admission rules to allow international students to apply as long as they obtained level 5 in the HSK Putonghua proficiency test.

The report cited an unidentified Tsinghua admissions official as saying the move was to bring the university more in line with international practice.

But many internet users said on social media that the HSK test did not provide a comparable level of language proficiency with TOEFL tests in the United States or IELTS in the United Kingdom.

Some even claimed that many international students could not even master the standard of 1,800 Chinese words required by the HSK test.

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Xiong Beiqi, an education expert, was quoted as saying the change raised concerns that it would be used as a back-door for Chinese parents who, by changing their child’s nationality, could gain admission to a top university that usually only admitted the highest scoring local students.

Another concern was the university’s scholarships set much lower thresholds for international students than local ones.