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(Jiaowailai [2009] No.20)

To Education Departments (or Education Commissions) of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central government, the Education Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and Education Sections of other departments concerned, Higher Education Institutions concerned:

In order to ensure the education quality of international undergraduate students and to improve the effect of Chinese Government Scholarship Program, based on previous pilot projects, and in accordance with the Regulations on Admission of International Students of Higher Education Institutions (hereinafter referred to as the RAIS), the Ministry of Education of China (hereinafter referred to as MOE) decides to launch the Foundation Program starting from September 1, 2009 for new international undergraduate students awarded with Chinese Government Scholarships before they begin their disciplinary courses. The specific requirements are as follows:

1. Enrollment and Administrative Duties. MOE entrusts higher education institutions (hereinafter referred to as the HEIs) with rich experience in international education to launch the Foundation Program. China Scholarship Council (hereinafter referred to as CSC) is entrusted by MOE to coordinate routine affairs, such as enrollment and management of the Foundation Program, to organize syllabus development of compulsory courses and certain optional courses of the Foundation Program, to arrange the compilation of teaching materials and teaching reference books, and to gradually establish an evaluation system for the complete and dynamic assessment of the students' academic performance.

2. Target Students. All international students coming to study in China with Chinese Government Scholarships who undertake undergraduate program taught in Chinese language are required to take part in the Foundation Program. However, those who either submit proofs issued by their secondary schools showing that Chinese is the instruction medium in the required courses of their secondary education, or hold copies of HSK Certificate (generally valid for two years) that confirm their meeting of the standards set for relevant disciplinary courses, could be exempted from Foundation Program.

3. Overall Objectives. The Foundation Program is designed to prepare target students for their disciplinary studies in Chinese HEIs with a training focus on the improvements of students' capability in the following three areas:

3.1 Communicative Competence in Chinese and in Cross-cultural Contexts: Basic knowledge of Chinese culture and society; Communicative skills in Chinese language to deal with daily life problems; Basic Chinese vocabulary and grammar, and necessary vocabulary and common expression patterns in Chinese for Special Purposes; Basic Chinese competence in listening, taking notes, and raising questions in class for disciplinary studies; Basic reading skills of disciplinary materials in Chinese with the help of dictionaries and reference books, and necessary writing skills for disciplinary studies.

3.2 Chinese Proficiency. No less than Band 3 in HSK for students who apply for courses in science, engineering, agriculture, medical science (traditional Chinese medicine excluded), economics, law, management, and education; No less than Band 6 in HSK for students who apply for courses in literature, history, philosophy, and traditional Chinese medicine.

3.3 Preparatory Knowledge for Disciplinary Studies. Knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science for applicants of science, engineering, agriculture, and medical science program applicants; Knowledge of mathematics and computer science for applicants of economics, law, management, and education program applicants; Knowledge of ancient Chinese and computer science for applicants of history, literature, philosophy, and traditional Chinese medicine program applicants.

4. Study Duration. The Foundation Program usually lasts 1 to 2 years: 1 year (40 weeks) for students with no Chinese language skills who intend to take courses in science, engineering, agriculture, medical science (traditional Chinese medicine excluded), economics, law, management, and education; 2 years (80 weeks) for students with no Chinese language skills who intend to take courses in literature, history, philosophy, and traditional Chinese medicine; Flexibility is available for students with certain Chinese proficiency.

5. Course Design and Teaching Mode. The Foundation Program will be conducted in an intensified mode, focusing on Chinese language skills and complemented by basic disciplinary knowledge. The Foundation Program consists of compulsory and optional courses, whose proportion will be decided by the HEIs which offer the above-mentioned program.

The Foundation Program must include four components: language, culture, disciplinary knowledge, and language practice. Language courses should be composed of general Chinese and Chinese for special purposes, including such lessons as comprehensive Chinese, listening, reading, oral Chinese, Chinese reading in science and technology, and Chinese listening and note-taking in science and technology, and so on. Culture courses should involve Chinese culture, general introduction to the Chinese society, and cross-cultural communication. Disciplinary courses should contain mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, ancient Chinese, Chinese for science and technology (or Business Chinese), and computer science. Language practice refers to those extracurricular activities such as language exercises and social surveys.

The first year of the Foundation Program shall include no less than 1,120 class hours, and 960 class hours for the second year. The general proportion of class hours for different courses is as follows:


In light of the actual conditions of the students, HEIs offering the Foundation Program shall formulate localized and campus-based teaching plans and teaching modes.

6. Student Administration. HEIs offering the Foundation Program shall carry out administration according to the RAIS . Student performance during the Foundation Program period shall be a main factor for reviewing scholarship and awarding completion certificates.

7. Evaluation. Nationally unified evaluation criteria shall be gradually adopted for core courses in the Foundation Program, which mainly examine the Chinese language proficiency and basic disciplinary knowledge of students.

Upon the completion of the Foundation Program, students who have passed the examinations and the annual review of Chinese Government Scholarship will be awarded with certificates issued by the delivering HEIs. The certificates will guarantee the students a direct admission to relevant HEIs for undergraduate programs.

8. Selection of Undergraduate Program and HEIs. CSC regularly organizes HEIs offering the Foundation Program and other relevant HEIs to advise students on selection of undergraduate programs and universities.

9. Students who have received the Foundation Program but failed to pass the examinations shall be disqualified for Chinese Government Scholarship. Such students, nevertheless, may obtain proofs issued by the delivering HEIs that confirm their learning experience.

Ministry of Education, the People's Republic of China

March 13, 2009

(All information in this document is authentic in Chinese. English is provided for reference only. In case of any discrepancy, the Chinese version shall prevail.)