[photopress:MBA_china_students.jpg,full,alignright]Thanks to aggressive reforms, China’s advanced education, the world’s largest system is churning out graduates fast enough, but new problems have emerged
Among all levels of education, the tertiary sector is advancing the fastest.
According to a report released on Oct 12 by the Ministry of Education, the size of China’s tertiary education system measured by the number of students has surpassed those of Russia, India and the United States, ranking first in the world.
Currently, more than 70 million Chinese people are pursuing college and higher education. In 2006, newly enrolled college students in China reached 5.4 million, five times the total of 1998.
From 2002 to 2006, the combined land area of university campuses nearly doubled and the value of teaching and experimental equipment increased from RMB61.7 billion to RMB142.4 billion.
It used to be that passing the entrance exams for tertiary education was very difficult in China. Indeed, prior to 1904 examinees were effectively imprisoned for three days while they completed the texts.
Now enrollment is very high. In fact, in some big cities such as Beijing, and Shanghai, the percentage can be as high as 70-80%.
China now is producing many more new graduates — 3.8 million were available for the workforce last year, 4.5 times the total of 1998.
Yet, all is not well. Both students and employers have mixed feelings about tertiary schooling reform. For students, it has become much harder to afford escalating tuition fees and even harder to secure a good jobs after graduation.
Employers might find the quality of new graduates less consistent than it was 10 years ago. Currently, the average salary for graduates in major Chinese cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai is between RMB1,500 and 2,000, which just covers basic living expenses.
The biggest challenge for China now is to find a way to make tertiary education more accessible and affordable, and to maintain quality at the same time.
Source: Bangkok Post
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