China has recently emerged as top destination for Pakistani students, who prefer Chinese educational institutions for their higher study, mainly in medical and engineering field.

The number of overall foreigners enrolled at Chinese universities has risen almost tenfold from 52,150 in 2000 to 489,200 last year.

The nation is Asia’s top destination for international students, with the majority arriving from Pakistan, South Korea, Thailand and the United States, according to the Chinese Ministry of Education.

A recent poll of overseas students at Peking University found 82.7 percent had chosen to study in the country because they wanted a career related to China, while a survey taken at a 2016 job fair organized by the ministry’s Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange and Peking University found 95 percent of international students wanted a job in China.

According to a China Daily’s report, Universities nation-wide have seen a boom in overseas students in recent years as young people seek to capitalize on the opportunities presented by China’s growing global engagement.

Thousands of Pakistani students see their dreams coming true, studying in China, credit goes to raising academic standard of the Chinese educational institutions.

Currently, 2,700 Pakistani students are pursuing master’s and doctorate degrees in top Chinese universities on fully funded scholarships sponsored by the Chinese government.

After the launch of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a number of engineering students seeking PhD or master’s degree has increased manifold, some supported fully or partially by scholarships from both Pakistani and Chinese governments, reports Chinese official news agency Xinhua.

Amjad Iqbal, managing director of EBC Worldwide, a consultancy firm that sends students from Pakistan, India and African countries to China, told Xinhua that they started sending students to China from 2007.

“At that time many universities wanted to welcome Pakistani students, but the students here were not so interested in flying to China in the pursuit of higher education. But things have drastically changed since the last five years. Now many students want to study in China, but I don’t have enough seats to accommodate them despite increased quota for international students by the Chinese institutes.”

He said the tuition fee of medical colleges in Pakistan is two to three times higher than that of China, which is the main reason why China is the favorite destination of aspiring medicine candidates from Pakistan.

“A candidate can get medical degree from China in less than 30,000 U.S. dollars including dormitory charges whereas in Pakistan the tuition fee alone costs students over 80,000 U.S. dollars.”

In the academic ranking of more than 350 Asian universities, China claims almost one fifth of the entries. This is result of continuous efforts on the Chinese side bringing its educational level at par with international standard.

The South Asian country has risen from the ninth-largest source of China’s international students to the fourth.

The growing ranking encourages students from Pakistan and other regional countries for pursuing their higher studies in China.

According to statistics released by the Chinese Ministry of Education, more than 200,000 students from 64 countries along the Belt and Road Initiative were studying in China last year, up 13.6 per cent from 2015.

For the first time in the list’s six-year history, Tsinghua University is China’s top-ranked institution, following across-the-board improvements on its teaching, research, citation impact, international outlook and knowledge transfer.

It comes second in the overall rankings, behind the National University of Singapore. Peking University drops one place to third.

The number of students studying in China from countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road has increased greatly under a series of preferential policies, education officials said.

The growth rate exceeds that of China’s international students as a whole,” said Xu Tao, director of the ministry’s Department of International Cooperation and Exchange, “as more than 440,000 students from 205 countries and regions were studying in China last year, a year-on-year rise of 11.4 percent.