A recent report by the Korean Ministry of Education reported that the number of South Korean students going to China for higher education has decreased by nearly 80 percent over the past six years.
In 2017, there was a peak of 732,400 Korean students in China. As of April 1, 2023, there were only 158,570 Korean students in China, a 6.5 percent drop from 2022 and a 78.3 percent plunge compared to 2017. Each of the past six years has seen a declining number of Korean students in China compared with the year before.
The proportion of Korean international students who study in China has also shrunk substantially. In 2017, 30.5 percent of all Korean students abroad were in China. By 2021 the figure fell to 17.2 percent, and it has remained below 20 percent since then.
Analysts cite several reasons for the sharp decline in Korean students opting for Chinese universities. China’s slowing economic growth is likely a major factor discouraging foreign students, as were China’s strict epidemic control policies of recent years. A third potential factor could be Koreans’ declining opinions of China — polls have shown that the percentage of Koreans holding negative views about China has risen in recent years, especially among young Koreans.
Source: Radio Free Asia, December 26, 2023