What’s wrong with summer study programmes
“There are too many people conducting these programmes and there is no real organisation”
Peng Sang, President of the Beijing Overseas Student Service Association, calls for the Chinese government to do more to ensure summer study programmes serve students well.
The number of students using their holiday break to study abroad is on the increase. The number of students from China participating in summer or winter study programmes has increased from 230,000 in 2013 to 300,000 in 2014, an increase of 30-40%.
According to statistics sourced from Baidu Search Engine, the number of comments regarding holiday study student figures reached 2,120,000 within a one month period. This is an overall increase of 11%. The above mentioned figures show that the number of people wishing to undertake holiday study programs is enormous and will increase in the coming years.
The number of comments on Baidu regarding holiday study student figures reached 2,120,000 within a one month period
The current problem is there are too many people conducting these programmes and there is no real organisation. Secondly, the format of these programmes seems to be all the same, i.e. half day language study/half day outside activities.
There is limited variety in programme structure. These may not help students improve their language level or deeper understand the local culture. Thirdly, there is no regulation on pricing. More often than not the fees are too high, sometimes higher than regular holiday tours of similar content.
For a long period the Chinese government has paid little attention to the development of this industry. This has led to the current situation.
“For a long period the Chinese government has paid little attention to the development of this industry”
The Guide for Study Abroad Programs of Primary and Secondary School Students issued by the Ministry of Education in July 2014 shows that the Chinese Education Department is starting to pay attention to the holiday study industry. This is good news.
Having this new material is much better than having nothing at all. However, the Guide only really represents the government’s attitude, and only shows that the government is participating in the discussion. With no real enforcement and implementation of the content it is difficult to regulate the holiday study industry. In reality this approach will not solve the problem. The biggest problem concerning holiday study programmes is enforcing regulations upon those running these programmes.
BOSSA members are all overseas study service organisations which are jointly supervised by BOSSA and the Chinese government. Any guidance or suggestions made by the government will directly influence their operations. In reality, the Guide will have a limited influence on BOSSA members. As far as I know the requirements for BOSSA members to adhere to the provisions outlined in the Guide are minimal. Our members are already meeting these requirements and in some cases do more than is required of them.