China’s Ministry of Education announced this week plans to phase out majors producing unemployable graduates, according to state-run media Xinhua. The government will soon start evaluating college majors by their employment rates, downsizing or cutting those studies in which less than 60% of graduates fail for two consecutive years to find work.
The move is meant to solve a problem that has surfaced as the number of China’s university educated have jumped to 8,930 people per every 100,000 in 2010, up nearly 150% from 2000, according to China’s 2010 Census. The surge of college grads, while an accomplishment for the country, has contributed to an overflow of workers whose skillsets don’t match with the needs of the export-led, manufacturing-based economy.
One of the targeted sectors might be biology, whose majors are not currently finding good jobs. But is that the right decision for the future of China? Here is yet another problem with the plan:
An op-ed in the Beijing News criticizes the approach for a different reason, saying that it will only spur false reporting of employment rates from schools that are looking for greater autonomy to produce more diversified, higher qualified students.
By the way:
What if the U.S. government were to adopt China’s approach? According to the most recent U.S. census data, among the first majors to go: psychology, U.S. history and military technologies.
For the pointer I thank Samuel Oehler.