Around the world, more parents consider sending their child to the mainland for university education than Hong Kong, a recently released survey has found.
The poll, commissioned by HSBC and conducted by market research company Ipsos MORI, asked 6,241 parents from 15 countries and territories – including mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Britain and the US – whether they would consider enrolling their child in a university overseas.
The 1,383 parents who were thinking of sending their child abroad were asked to pick three countries out of the top 50 on last year’s QS and The Times Higher Education university rankings. A total of 75 parents picked mainland China as one of their choices, making it the ninth most popular destination, three places ahead of Hong Kong, with 58 picks.
Hong Kong’s higher education sector has long been highly regarded, boasting of a selection of world-class universities. The rise in ranking and reputation of mainland universities is a very recent event. In The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2016, published in May, Tsinghua University rose to the world’s top 20 for the first time, while Shanghai’s Fudan University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University both debuted on the top 100 list.
Natalie Lok Wan-wai, 19, a second-year student of Journalism and Communication at Fudan University in Shanghai, said her decision to study on the mainland was based on job prospects and tuition fee.
“Studying at Fudan is less expensive as it only costs me about 6,000 yuan [HK$7,000] a year, compared to HK$42,100 of annual university fees in Hong Kong,” Lok said. “Another thing my parents and I have considered is my future career. This is a great opportunity to understand Chinese culture and Mandarin better, which would improve my career prospects.”
Hok Yau Club Student Guidance Centre director Ng Po-shing reminds parents and students to check what needs to be accredited after graduation on the mainland. “For example, if you have completed a nursing degree in China, you still need to sit for the Nursing Council Licensing Examination to work as a registered nurse in Hong Kong,” he says.
Jason Chan Chun-wai, 19, a second-year student of Clinical Medicine at Shanghai Jiaotong University agrees. “Before deciding to study in China, my parents and teachers had warned me it would be a tougher path after graduation. I’ll need to take the medical body’s licensing exam if I want to be a registered doctor in Hong Kong.”