Sydney University is planning to change requirements for Chinese students who are going to enter it. It will give preferences to school leavers who have already passed a university entrance exam called gaoko. Recently the university required Chinese entrants to set a foundation course.
Michael Spence, vice-chancellor, said: "We are looking at reforming the way we do admissions in our undergraduate program where students need foundation courses. Several courses are starting to take people with high school qualifications. There are some very high flying students coming through gaokao".
Dr Spence considers that many changes were unfair to Chinese students as they had not only to pay high fees for education but also cover living expenses. This is hard for Chinese families as they work hard to scrap money to pay for the education provided to their children. He also pointed out that among international students "relatively resilient" ones appeared to be Chinese students. However, it was too earlier this year to claim if the Knight changes could improve the situation.
Yesterday’s The Australian issue highlighted that Dr Spence is also looking for money from the government for the university’s new China Studies Centre.
He said: “The centre for the study of China in the World is about grand geopolitics. How will China react? Is China a threat? These are the kinds of questions that occupy their minds?
We are about engagement with Chinese civil society. We want to work with China on the solutions of common problems: in Australia on public government and business education in modern China? So we are not asking the big questions, we are asking things like how do you get primary health care to a population this big? It has a civil society focus. Their missions are quite complementary.”