As a result, the French government has initiated a series of programmes to attract Chinese students to France including aiming to increase its Chinese student numbers from 35,000 to 50,000 by 2015 particularly in Master and PhD programmes and extending scholarships offered to Chinese students.
“We know that China is doing very well in the African market, there are lots of Chinese companies investing in Africa and French language is definitely a plus for those investments”
Mathilde Mallet, Deputy Director of Campus France told The PIE News: “More and more Chinese students are choosing France and the dialogue is closer than before. There’s a growing number of partnerships with China both in educational institutions and with businesses, so these are some of the reasons.”
“We know that China is doing very well in the African market, there are lots of Chinese companies investing in Africa and French language is definitely a plus for those investments,” she said adding that Africa is also France’s strongest student source market led by Morocco with 38,000 students in France currently.
On an international education tour in Beijing last week, French Ambassador Sylvie Bermann confirmed that the number of scholarships available under the EIFFEL excellence scholarship programme will be extended from 30 to 50 coinciding with this year’s 50th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries.
France is also marketing post-graduate employment opportunities at French businesses with operations in China. “One of our selling points is come to France for your studies and that will be a gateway to find a job back in China, because there’s lots of French companies doing very well in China,” said Mallet.
And in China, Franco-Chinese institutes have been set up on Chinese campuses through partnerships between French associations and Chinese universities. French institutions have also established Chinese campuses including SKEMA and EMLYON Business School, whose ties with China date back to 1997.
To overcome the language barrier, most Chinese students enrolling on specialist courses will also have preparation courses in French language at their institutions included as part of their studies.
Unlike other nationalities, Mallet believes that Chinese students seem to embrace the French language: “Indian students are often obsessed with French as a language barrier, whereas it’s not the case for Chinese students, they don’t mention it.”