Overseas Returnees are Top Lecturers at Peking and Tsinghua Universities

China Youth Daily recently published an analysis of the background statistics of 810 top Chinese lecturers from Tsinghua and Peking Universities between 2011 and 2017. Data from the early years showed that most of these top university lecturers were overseas returnees, and that the second largest group was made up of graduates from the same university, indicating that fewer “outsiders” were able to become lecturers. The data also showed that an individual being part of a national talent program (either the Thousand Talents program or the Cheung Kong Scholars Program) was a differentiating factor in the teaching position held.


The most recent data however, showed that the number of lecturers with PhDs from China surpassed that of returnees with PhDs. Those with PhDs from the US took the leading position, making up approximately 1/3 of the total number of lecturers and 2/3 of the number of returnee lecturers, followed by the UK, Japan, Germany, Canada, Singapore and Holland in terms of lecturers with PhDs from the respective country. Most domestic PhD holders had post-doctoral fellowship experience overseas, but approximately 18% of lecturers had no experience studying overseas. Both universities employed under 30% of their own PhD lecturers.

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