International students have been banned from entering China for 555 days now as the Chinese government remains hesitant to allow them to enter the country.
An Aeronautical Engineering student from Malawi, East Africa, studying at Beihang University, who preferred to stay anonymous due to safety issues, said that the ban has been a huge drawback for him as an engineering student.
“I began my studies in September 2019. I have lacked exposure to practical content that is much needed in my major to provide maximum safety for aircraft passengers when designing planes and the engineering that surrounds it,” the student told Erudera College News, adding that he even experienced depression and anxiety after not being allowed to reenter China for 20 months now.
Coming from a third-world nation where prices of data are very high compared to the rest of the world, he said it was very difficult to raise money for the data alone. He also pointed out that while in China, he was expected to study with a full scholarship, at home, his parents can now barely afford to for the data that he uses on a daily basis to attend classes and exams.
“We have since failed to acquire the best quality education that we chose China for,” the Malawian student said.
Furthermore, students claim that higher education institutions in China, along with the government, haven’t considered the concerns raised by students, while lecturers paid little attention to students’ academic needs.
They told Erudera that they have contacted authorities but have been receiving the same feedback that China pays attention to students’ welfare, but the latter must wait for notice.
“We pay great attention to the welfare of students, we will monitor the trends of the pandemic and make the best considerations for them,” the authorities have responded, students claim.
According to them, despite the COVID-19, the country should pay attention to the right of all students to access quality education, adding that expectations to return to China have only increased levels of mental health deterioration.
“I have tried to get in touch with the Ambassador of the Republic of China in my country, but my message was left unattended, I equally tried to talk to the Head of academic affairs in the International School in my university but they only advised me to take online courses until I can go back or else drop out until We can go back which would not be ideal for me,” the student from Malawi said.
He stressed that studying amid the pandemic was difficult as online lessons were less effective and that teachers are now tired of teaching online with a few learners; as a result, they haven’t been given adequate resources.
“Worse still, we have not been able to do lab sessions with our friends hence lack practical work experience. I have been unable to attend classes sometimes due to the time difference between China and my country,” the student said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told the media that China “has no choice but to take a lot of prevention and control measures” following Indian students’ demonstration in Delhi asking for permission to enter the country and continue their studies.
International students in China from Pakistan have warned of peaceful protests on October 5 in the capital city, Islamabad.
In order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19, the Chinese government decided to close its borders on March 28, 2020, banning the entry of most foreign nationals.