Report finds poor study skills at China partners

July 17, 2008

Concerns about the limited language and study skills of international students have been raised at the University of Central Lancashire.

An internal paper seen by Times Higher Education points to concerns about students at the Chinese institutions offering Uclan programmes via franchise agreements.

Shenzhen University and Guangdong University of Foreign Studies between them offer three BA business programmes, with students studying in both China and the UK.

The report, which gives feedback from a visit to Shenzhen by international student support tutors this year, says that the students have an "inadequate idea of what is expected of them", "little or no experience of writing essays or reports" and are "unsure about their English levels".

The report concludes: "Although language teaching was being provided at Shenzhen University, this was not (felt to be) preparing the students for academic work in the UK ... Students at Shenzhen also raised concerns about not knowing how to study independently as they had had little experience of this.

"Furthermore, these students did not feel like Uclan students and did not have access to many English language books and journals."

The document suggests a range of solutions, including producing a "survival guide" for franchise students and a guide for staff who teach on the programme, as well as close "communication and collaboration" with the China partners.

A university spokesman said: "Uclan was one of the first universities to offer students on its programmes in China comprehensive language support provided by an in-country team of dedicated language specialists."

john.gill@tsleducation.com.

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