Nancy Zhang wrote in Shanghai Daily, reacting to the Sunday Times’s report of some British schools’ unofficial policy of capping the number of pupils from China. She accused the school of deploying a policy that discriminates against Chinese students.

The Sunday Times reported that some private schools, including Wellington College in Berkshire, the Leys school in Cambridge and Brighton college, East Sussex, have decided to restrict their numbers of foreign pupils. The informal limit ranges from 8% to 20%. The schools argues that they must preserve the Britishness of the school, which was also expressed by some of the parents, according to the schools.

The numbers from mainland China have risen from a few hundred in 2000 to 2,345 this year. When added to pupils from Hong Kong, the total rises to 8,652, 40% of all foreign pupils.

UK schools discriminate against Chinese students, by Nancy Zhang:

Last month an article appeared in “The Sunday Times” about unofficial quotas some British schools have on the number of Chinese pupils they will admit.

This was preceded by another article the week before with the headline “Chinese students oust UK pupils from top universities.”

It seems there is a growing pattern in Western countries like the United Kingdom, where the Chinese in particular are seen to be infringing on that most valuable and socially crucial resource: education.

Ostensibly the schools claim these quotas are a practical issue of business-need. The schools mentioned were highly elite, private schools - traditionally a bastion of British life stretching back to the days of the empire.

The argument provided by the schools is that both foreign and British parents, their customers, come to these schools for a distinctly “British” education, so it is in the interests of both to keep numbers of Chinese below 10 percent and thus maintain their original character.

But I wonder if they would say the same if the incoming 10 percent of foreign students were white American or European. Or, on the other hand, if they would welcome a large number of legally British pupils who were ethnically Chinese.

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