“I have made great efforts to get a scholarship to study in China next year, but to my surprise, I have to attend one or two years of preparatory education when I arrive in China before I can start my planned academic studies. In this way, I have to spend more years studying in China,” said Stan Jordon from California, who had just received a Chinese government scholarship to study in China as an undergraduate student, when he learned that the Chinese government’s policy for foreign students in China. This represents the feelings of many other students who also get Chinese government scholarships. This leads to a question that needs consideration: how to be exempt from the one or two years of preparatory education, cutting down the time required for studying in China after they get the chance to go abroad?
We have learned that in order to guarantee the quality of education for those students who get a Chinese government scholarship to pursue undergraduate studies in China and also improve the utilization of the scholarship, the Ministry of Education, based on their Regulations for Colleges to Accept Foreign Students is now requiring that as of September 1st, 2009, all foreign freshmen who receive a Chinese government scholarship for undergraduate study in China must receive one or two years of preparatory education. However, students under one of the following two conditions may apply for exemption from preparatory education: one is the completion of compulsory secondary education courses with Chinese as the teaching language, with attached certification from their respective school; the other is a result on the HSK test that qualifies for entry into a professional school. This will undoubtedly increase the amount of compulsory courses for foreign students who are awarded a Chinese government scholarship for undergraduate study in China. Since many students do not want to spend their time in one or two years of preparatory education, these students and their parents are beginning to study countermeasures to such a policy and are preparing in advance to be exempt from preparatory education.
Some of these students complete their secondary education with courses taught in Chinese, so they only need to get a certificate from their schools, proving that they finished their compulsory courses in secondary school with Chinese as the teaching language. However, for those foreign students who do not meet this learning condition but still want to be exempt from preparatory education, there is only one way placed in front of them: to obtain a qualifying HSK score for entering professional school. Therefore, an upsurge of learning Chinese is rising among those who have won a Chinese government scholarship to study as an undergraduate in China. In order to get a high score on the HSK test, some students intend to come to China one year ahead of time to take professional Chinese training, but many others choose to learn Chinese at professional online Mandarin Chinese language schools.
Alice Chen, a professional teacher from eChineselearning.com, a premier online Mandarin Chinese school told us: “Our HSK test-prep lessons have become the most frequently chosen course because those students have a common goal—to study in China, and they want to pass the HSK test through HSK test-prep courses to be exempt from preparatory education. Kristy Lee, an undergraduate foreign student from New York, began preparing for the HSK examination after she had received a Chinese government scholarship to study in China. She said: “I chose HSK test-prep lessons at eChineselearning.com, because I want to take the HSK test in April next year. Then I can be exempt from preparatory education when I go to study in China, if I get an eligible score.” Kristina Lee, a mother from Vancouver who came to register her daughter (who will study abroad in China,) for the HSK test, says: "My daughter has not had learning conditions with Chinese as the teaching language from an early age, so she can only rely on a high score on the HSK test to be exempt from preparatory education when she goes to study in China. I was very worried about her exam at first, but since we chose the HSK test-prep courses at eChineselearning.com, she has made great progress, so now I don’t worry about it anymore. "
Thus, under the new policy of studying in China, a qualifying score on the HSK test has become the only way for the majority of foreign students to be exempt from preparatory education.