Erasmus program outclassed by China

Nieuws | de redactie
5 november 2012 | The newest UNESCO study on student mobility shows that Europe hosts 25 percent of all international students, while European students abroad account for only 11 percent. This puts the budget cuts on the Erasmus Program in a new perspective.

The new UNESCO study “Global Flow of Tertiary-level Students” shows that the number of students enrolled abroad almost doubled  in the last ten years, from 2 million in 2000 to at least 3.6 million in 2010. This is a clear reflection of the worldwide expansion of enrolment in higher education, which has grown with 78 percent in the last decade.

The international student is Chinese

The largest group, 28 percent of the students, originates from East Asia and the Pacific. It may not be called a surprise but most of them originate from China. Of all students that study abroad, 17 percent is Chinese and the United States, Australia, and Japan are their main destinations for study.

What might be surprising is that the total amount of students from Western Europe and North America combined is smaller than the group of Chinese students, accounting for only 15 percent. On the other hand, more than half of the world’s international students, 58%, studies in Western Europe or North America.

Regional hotspots

The top 5 destination countries exists of the United States (19%), United Kingdom (11%), Australia (8%), France (7%), Germany (6%) and Japan (4%). Two types of international students can be distinguished in the UNESCO map: regional and international. For example, Central and Eastern European students divide themselves between the ‘old east and west’. 16 percent chooses to study in Germany, 10 percent goes to Russia and 8 percent goes to the United States.

The Arab states of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) are popular destinations for Arab students, and South Africa received 17% of mobile students from Sub-Saharan Africa. France remains the top destination for Arab and Sub-Saharan African students, receiving 29% and 19% of these students respectively.


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