[Thanks to our reader Tim Handorf from bestcollegesonline who sent me this tip. It is nothing about tech, but when I read through the original post, I found it’s quite interesting. At least for people who are doing or want to do web business with the target at Chinese university students, the following 10 points might help.]
To everybody even remotely cognizant of geopolitics and economics, China has been priming itself to enjoy hegemonic status in a few generations. Education forms an essential component of superstardom, and the Asian giant has been expanding its offerings to its expanding student base. But such accelerated growth does come with a unique set of drawbacks as well. The following statistics showcase the reality of China’s higher education system, both the positives and negatives. However, keep in mind that these numbers are not anywhere near comprehensive.
- 72.2% of Chinese college graduates in 2010 ended up employed: China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security misreported its employment rate for 2010, claiming that 90.7% of graduates landed jobs right after completing their degrees. Businessweek, however, revealed that the actual statistic actually hovered around 72.2%, up from 68% the previous year. China’s unemployment rate hit 9.4% in 2008, though the country often reported it as 4.2%.
- Only 6 million university spots are available for 10 million students: It’s an incredibly terrifying prospect one instilling considerable anxiety in Chinese students and parents alike. 4 million high school seniors, regardless of their intelligence and aptitude, will be denied entry into the 6 million available higher education spots. Only one rigorous standardized test known as the gaokao stands between then and stigmatization. Naturally, of course, placing such high esteem on one educational factor draws more than a couple critics.
- 3 in 5 students pass the gaokao: Because entrance into Chinese universities and colleges hinges entirely on a passing gaokao score, the most passionate high schoolers sink between 14 to 16 hours daily cramming for it. Some even go so far as to hook themselves up to hospital oxygen tanks with the hope that doing so will foster clearer thinking. The test lasts for 9 hours, and no matter how much time, energy, resources and even bribe-taking these kids burn up in the process, only 3 in 5 end up with a score that earns them one of the coveted, limited higher education positions.
- China graduates twice as many college students as the United States: According to UNESCO research, China graduates more college students than any other nation ranked with certain World Education Indicators. A 2007 study of 19 countries revealed that, by 2005, the Asian hegemony was graduating double the amount of university students than the United States. Yet another academic accomplishment UNESCO unearthed included boasting more tertiary graduates (2.4 million in 2006) than France, Japan and the United States combined.
- College graduates in China make 300 yuan more than migrant workers: This disconcerting article reveals that Chinese college graduates, on average, enjoy negligibly higher salaries than those taking on migrant labor. According to the 2010 Wall Street Journal piece, the difference is only 300 yuan, or $44 in American currency. Since 2003 or so, anyone holding a college degree in China makes about 1,500 yuan a month, while migrant workers enjoyed an increase from 700 to 1,200 yuan. Social scientists note several factors contributing to this unfortunate phenomenon, including a glut of graduates and the belief that only 50 Chinese universities produce valuable degrees.
- China spends 1.5% of its GDP on education: Tsinghua, at number 49, ranks as China’s highest university on international listings. In order to make it and other schools as competitive as Harvard, Oxford, Yale and Cambridge, the government now pours about 1.5% of its gross domestic product into the education system. This means an expenditure involving billions of yuan annually, and education professionals believe that at least one Chinese university or college will offer Ivy League-quality programming within the next 25 years if not sooner.
- The number of Chinese colleges and universities has more than doubled in the past decade: Over the past 10 years, the number of higher education options for Chinese students swelled from 1,022 to 2,263. In 1997, only 1 million students took advantage of the available spots, and as of early 2010 the amount had swelled to 5 million. The Guardian notes that the British and American schools with which they compete embrace China’s booming college and university system.
- More unemployed, female college graduates are seeking the service of matchmakers: The owners and operators of Xiaoyuanlove.com saw 10,000 new members sign up for their services in the span of only 2 months. Most about 2/3rd – of these new customers are women who recently or will shortly be completing graduation. The climbing unemployment rate makes marriage and stay-at-home parenting appear the more stable option, which certainly benefits both virtual and traditional matchmakers alike.
- 23% of 18- to 22-year-olds are going to college: The Chronicle of Higher Education states that about 23% of the 18- to 22-year old demographic in China is college-bound, meeting the required gaokao score needed for entry. These figures come from 2010 12 years earlier, only 6% of that population segment pursued higher education. A collaborative survey between Tsinghua University and Indiana University at Bloomington sought to explore how such an influx of students has affected the engagement ability of institutions.
- Overcrowding and boredom rank as the biggest student complaints: The 27-school survey revealed that some colleges and universities average 100 students per class. Such bloated classrooms and strained staff members disillusion many education-seekers, who overwhelmingly complain that it inspires boredom and frustration. Once the results of the survey became available, many of the institutions set about acquiring the resources and training needed to address common student complaints.
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