By Paul Chung
UNSW was ranked 52 in the QS World University Rankings 2012/2013. Peking and Tsinghua were ranked 44 and 48, respectively. Image credit: @Ben Harris-Roxas.
While many Chinese universities are busily advocating Gaokao reform and administering wacky independent college entrance exams, the University of New South Wales is planning on accepting Gaokao test scores in an effort to lure exceptional Chinese students.
In 2014, UNSW will join a handful of other Gaokao-friendly Australian universities when it begins accepting Gaokao, the infamous Chinese college entrance exam, as part of its undergraduate admissions process.
Like before, prospective Chinese international students applying to UNSW will still be required to demonstrate excellent English proficiency by receiving high marks on the IELTS or other comparable exams.
“UNSW’s Gaokao entry policy is designed to balance our premium brand and reputation for world-class quality with respect for China’s students and their families,” noted Fiona Docherty, Pro-Vice-Chancellor.
Of course, this is not to say that UNSW’s new Gaokao policy is inspired by any perceived shortage of Chinese students. UNSW’s nearly 6,000 overseas Chinese students now make up over 10 percent of the university’s total student body population.
Every year, China’s elite top tier universities like Peking and Tsinghua receive more applications than available spots despite rigorous Gaokao score cutoffs. Thus, talented Chinese students who fail to get into their top choice university may look to Australia where dozens of reputable universities now accept Gaokao test scores.
Australian universities’ unique Gaokao strategy is a bold approach to recruiting relatively wealthy and talented Chinese students. Is the strategy a successful model worth emulating in other countries?
While the success of the policy is undetermined, it does bring one thing to light: China’s long-term brain drain.