Are China’s Colleges Too Easy?

As thousands of young Chinese go jobless after receiving college diplomas, some have started to question whether Chinese universities are actually producing well-qualified graduates. From Eric Fish at the Economic Observer:

While many countries lament their soaring college dropout rates, China may have just the opposite problem: Too many people finishing university. Some chalk this up to the success of China’s rigorous and family support systems. But others say the country’s have become too easy and are producing a glut of graduates that are saturating an already dismal job market.

[…] In 2011, the Beijing-based Mycos Institute released a study showing that only 3 percent of China’s drop out [compared with 54% in the U.S., 32% in the U.K., and 11% in Japan]. The Ministry of immediately refuted that “high rate” saying the true proportion was just 0.75 percent.

[…] An American teacher, who spoke on the condition he and his school not be named, taught at a well-known public university in Beijing from 2010 to 2011. When he tried to fail a student who never came to class once the entire semester and then skipped the final exam, he was rebuked by a higher-up. “The director basically gave me an ‘either you do it or we will do it’ type answer,” the teacher said. “I was also told to pass on this information to other teachers with the explanation that it got more confusing if we failed a student.  In fact, if a student failed another teacher’s class, and that teacher refused to change [the grade], they had another teacher change it. I had to do this multiple times. We would have a make-up test (usually five minutes) and I would give them a grade.”

Read more on China’s booming production of college graduates, the sacrifices their parents make for increasingly uncertain returns, and the resulting hunger for security that may sap the economy’s vitality in future, via CDT.

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