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System Of Higher Education In The Peoples Republic Of China And Problems Of Recognition Of Chinese Diplomas In Russia. А.А. Koropchenko, М.N. Zhitnikova

          Using example of activities of the Service of diploma examination and recognition, we are considering the problems of recognition of diplomas of the Peoples Republic of China citizens willing to be admitted to basic programs of higher education in higher schools of Russia, and we are offering some practical recommendations for employees of higher school international services considering such documents.
          The Russian education system still remains an international leader despite significant difficulties and problems the public has been facing during 10 years. Currently, there is evidence suggesting that, quantity of foreign students trained in Russian educational establishments, which had been decreasing for many years, is growing now. This is especially true for the countries of Southeast Asia, such as China, Vietnam and India where many citizens were trained in the Soviet higher schools and where there is understanding that the Russian education system is the legal successor to the best traditions and educational programs of the Soviet school.
          For the last decade, the People's Republic of China has made an enormous breakthrough showing in all areas of internal and foreign policy of the country. Education system of China also saw significant changes during these years: In 1995, the People Republic of China passed a new Law on education providing 9 years mandatory education, program of illiteracy elimination among young and middle-age people; the program of support universities is being effectively implemented. All these measures have led to the significant growth of interest of local population in advancing educational level, and as a result competition in higher educational institutions of the People Republic of China - especially in the high rating higher institutions significantly increased. The unsatisfied demand for educational services led to the increased number of Chinese citizens applying for admittance to higher institutions in Russia. Some of them are willing to attend basic programs of higher education, while others apply for 2-d and 3-d level training, i.e. magistracy and postgraduate studies.
          To be admitted to a higher educational institution in the Russian Federation, a foreign citizen must submit both diploma received abroad and "Certificate of equivalence" issued by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation and establishing legal validity of these documents in the RF territory and assuring for the bearer the same rights as to bearers of the RF documents. In 2000, Russia ratified the Convention on recognition of qualifications concerning higher education in the European region (Lisbon, 1997), and in conformity with this Convention, to be admitted to the 1 grade of a higher institution, i.e. to the programs of the basic higher education, a candidate should possess education equivalent to complete elementary higher education. But unfortunately, now we have a situation when Russian universities admit foreign citizens willing to receive higher education on commercial basis without receiving such a certificate. And the problem of such a document lack arises only at the end of training prior to receiving diploma or even prior to defending a thesis. It happens that foreign citizens receive higher education in the RF and are admitted to the 1 grade having no education equivalent to average (complete) elementary education of the RF, or to master programs without completing training under bachelor program.
          The Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation is continually following up problems associated with foreign students' training, and specifically it is considering possibility to perform preliminary assessment of foreign diplomas both in some federal districts and in the largest higher institutions. In this connection it is really interesting for us to consider experience of unsolicited Service of recognition and examination of diplomas established some 1,5 year ago at the Center of international education of the Moscow State University named after М.V. Lomonosov.
          Even for this brief period of time their experience proved that number of citizens of the People Republic of China willing to be trained in the Moscow State University is considerably higher than the number of citizens of other countries. About 2/3 of Chinese wish to be admitted to the 1 grade of the Moscow State University. However, the documents submitted for expert assessment included about 15 % of documents not valid for admission to the basic programs of higher education. To understand why candidates with such documents cannot be admitted for training to the 1 grade of higher institution, we should consider the system of higher education in the People Republic of China.
          The structure of school education of the People Republic of China is as follows:
          - 6 to 12 years old - elementary school (duration of training is 6 years)
          - 2 to 15 years old - the first level of high school (duration is 3 years)
          - 5 to 18 years old - the second (highest) level of high school (duration is 3 years).
          Obligatory 9-year education includes 6 years of elementary and 3 years of the first level of high school.
          Training at the maximum high school level is carried out in general high schools (3 years) or professional or technical high schools (4 years). After finishing the 2-d level students (usually 18 years old) pass final examinations (Senior High School Graduation Examination). Final examinations are conducted simultaneously all over the country, but they are organized by provincial educational bodies, therefore forms and a level of examinations may vary. Graduates pass the following examinations: Policy, the Chinese language, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, history, foreign language (usually English), and pass tests performing practical works on physics, biology and chemistry. Results of these examinations are obligatory condition for the admittance to entrance examinations in universities (Chinese University Entrance Examination), which are also conducted simultaneously during the first 10 days of July, and are organized in provinces under recommendations of the Ministry of Education. One of formats of entrance examinations is "3+1" which means 3 obligatory subjects and one optional - this examinations format is accepted in Shanghai. But the majority of provinces adheres to "3+2" format meaning 3 obligatory and 2 optional subjects. 3 obligatory subjects are the Chinese language, mathematics and English language. Entrance examinations for humanitarian and natural-science (engineering) specialties differ by a set of optional subjects. Important admitting criteria in universities, except for academic performance, are moral and physical characteristics. The maximum possible rate for the "3+2" format examinations is 500, the lowest passing score is from 300 to 380 depending on the reputation of university. Competition in universities with high rating is extremely strong. Training in higher institutions of China is free-of-charge for competition winners, but every year number of students who would pay for the training is increasing. The maximum price for one year of university training is 5000 US dollars for citizens of the People Republic of China. The significant growth of Chinese students in our country may be explained by approximately equal price of training at universities of the People Republic of China and Russia.
          As a rule, diplomas of foreign citizens wishing to be trained at a university of other state should be submitted to the international services together with a notarized translation, however, translations from the Chinese language into Russian, especially by translators in China, frequently made using computer programs, are usually rather poor, sometimes incorrect and contain factual errors. Therefore, employees of international services in higher institutions are facing a problem to puzzle out this "double-dutch".
          It should be noted, that the group of hieroglyphs (see fig. 2 and 3), designates the name of document - "diploma", and it is present on all documents confirming training in high, vocational or higher schools (on documents covers these are often put vertically). Accepting Chinese citizens to the 1 grade it is recommended to pay attention to the following hieroglyphs featuring on the cover and in the text content. These hieroglyphs feature the documents confirming high school education. This diploma is supplemented by a document featuring results of final examinations. This supplement may be both a separate document, and an additional table in the basic document (see fig. 1.).
          Type and form of a final document is defined by educational bodies of each province, therefore such diplomas miss uniformity unlike Russian certificates. Appearance of such a document issued by Jiangxi province is shown on fig. 2.
          It is also necessary to pay attention to obligatory three-year training in a supreme high school and the age of a candidate (about 18 years). Only observing all these conditions the documents of a candidate may be unconditionally recognized as having the right to be admitted to the basic programs of higher education. The documents failing to meet these requirements are most hard for recognition, therefore it is recommended to forward them to the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation for consideration and performing the procedure of recognition and determining the equivalence - to avoid annoying mistakes. Usually it is the documents confirming candidate's initial vocational training on the basis of obligatory 9 year education for 2 to 3 years (cover of such a document is showen on fig. 3.).
          The list of studied subjects in such documents usually features "shop-topic" subjects, for example, "service in a restaurant", "basics of tourism", "tailoring of outer clothing", etc., however the set of obligatory subjects for the supreme high school is limited to two or three (for example, mathematics, native language, politics). And, certainly, in that case there is no document confirming results of final examinations for a grade of the supreme high school. In the People Republic of China a candidate with such a document may apply for admittance to a higher educational institution only specializing in the profession requiring knowledge according to the initial vocational training received. And at Moscow State University bearers of such documents, as a rule, desire to be trained at the most popular department: VMiK, biology, and fundamental medicine with very strong competition in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. Failing to master these subjects makes it impossible to study at these faculties.

  Source: A.A. Koropchenko, M.N. Zhitnikova System of higher education in the People Republic of China and problems of recognition of Chinese diplomas in Russia // the Scientific bulletin of MGTU GA. - 2002. - No. 47. - pp. 133. - P.25-29. - Series: Society, economy, education.


MiK - Higher mathematics and cybernetics.
PRC - People's Republic of China.
MGTU GA - Moscow State Technical University of Civil Aviation.

Notes and reformatting by:
Е.V. Shevchenko,
Head of the International Education Management Department,
Institute of International Educational Programmes,
St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University

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