Anna De Vaul, a teacher from the United States, coaches a young Chinese student at Wenzhou-Kean University. (Photo by Wei Xiaohao/China Daily)
After years spent studying the higher-education market, overseas universities with joint ventures in China are now attracting a better class of student.
Schools such as New York University Shanghai have worked to build their reputations by promising good knowledge resources and management as well as international exposure and better job opportunities for graduates.
And according to Yang Guohua, a senior executive with the Sino-Foreign Cooperative Universities Union, that work is paying off. He said more high-quality young people are now flocking to such colleges, not least because of their mature recruitment policies.
"Apart from accepting students based on their performance in the gaokao, China's national college entrance examination, these universities have developed diverse ways to find students who can better meet their expectations," Yang said.
NYU Shanghai, for example, a joint venture launched in 2013 by NYU and Shanghai's East China Normal University, has a preselection process in which promising students are interviewed before the all-important exam.
The goal "is to enroll the most excellent Chinese students, those who would qualify to study at top universities such as Peking University", said Yu Lizhong, chancellor and chairman of the board at the college.
"Although a student's gaokao score does not really affect our decision about recruiting him or her, most of the students (accepted by the university) have achieved high scores, as we expected with their abilities," he added.
China has seven universities that are jointly operated by domestic and foreign institutions. The oldest, the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, was established in 2004 by Zhejiang Wanli University and Britain's University of Nottingham.
The Ministry of Education has also approved plans for two more. Both will be located in the southern province of Guangdong, with construction to start soon.
Statistics from the Sino-Foreign Cooperative Universities Union, which the joint ventures established in 2014 to advise the Chinese government on such collaboration, show the seven universities accepted more than 7,300 Chinese students in 2015.