June 25 2013

China Shows How Centralized Government Hurts Education and the Economy

Vicki E. Alger

Want a glimpse of a state-controlled schooling system and economy? Look to China. As the Business Times reports:

A record seven million students will graduate from universities and colleges across China in the coming weeks, but their job prospects appear bleak - the latest sign of a troubled Chinese economy.

Businesses say they are swamped with job applications but have few positions to offer as economic growth has begun to falter. …

The Chinese government is worried, saying the problem could affect social stability, and it has ordered schools, government agencies and state-owned enterprises to hire more graduates at least temporarily to help relieve joblessness. …

China quadrupled the number of students enrolled in universities and colleges over the last decade. But its economy is still driven by manufacturing, with a preponderance of blue-collar jobs. …

A national survey released last winter found that in the age bracket of 21- to 25-year-olds, 16 per cent of the men and women with college degrees were unemployed.

However, only 4 per cent of those with an elementary school education were unemployed, a sign of voracious corporate demand persisting for blue-collar workers.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that the Chinese economy will grow 7.75 per cent this year - slower than the growth of 10 to 14 per cent before 2008 but still a much faster pace than in the West.

Government doesn’t know best when it insists college for all is the path to economic prosperity. Economic prosperity is the result of many diverse career and work paths chosen by individuals.

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