China cuts majors with jobless grads

China’s Ministry of Education plans to phase out majors producing unemployable graduates. If less than 60 percent of graduates are employed after two years, the major will be cut back or eliminated.

China has increased the number of university graduates by nearly 150 percent since 2000.  But some lack the skills needed by the manufacturing-based economy, notes the Wall Street Journal.

Many university professors in China are unhappy with the Ministry of Education’s move, as it will likely shrink the talent pool needed for various subjects, such as biology, that are critical to the country’s aim of becoming a leader in science and technology but do not currently have a strong market demand, a report in the state-run China Daily report said.

An op-ed in the Beijing News said the policy will encourage universities to fudge employment statistics for graduates.

Official data already shows that the country’s educated jobless, referred to as the “ant tribe,” appear to be decreasing. In 2010, 72% of recent graduates found work, up from 68% in 2009, according to the Ministry of Education.

. . . some universities have already started taking steps to decrease the size of programs that don’t result in paid positions. Enrollment in a Russian program at China’s Shenyang Normal University was cut to 25 students this year from 50 in previous years, according to a report in the China Daily.

If the U.S. government decided to emulate China, what would go? The Journal’s chart of unemployment rates for college graduates lists clinical psychology, fine arts, U.S. history and library science as the majors least likely to lead to employment, but the jobless rates are low by Chinese standards.

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  1. Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:

    Ah… the top-down Command Economy at work.

    Think about the view of the world contained in this news report: The Ministry of Education is going to cut majors.

    You might think that was a job for the colleges… but you’d be wrong!

    (Though it’s not like the US Government is free from the ill effects of control-freak level social engineering in education.)

    • Indeed. But appreciate the irony.

      Here’s a nation that, in many ways, has rejected the central planning mentality common to socialist/communist countries and has prospered mightily as a result. And here they are making the same, silly mistake of relying on central planning.

      If the people who worry about China out-competing the U.S. want to really start sweating they ought to consider what’ll happen to Chinese higher, and even elementary, education if the Chinese figure out that central planning’s no more effective when it comes to education then it is when it comes to making cars.

  2. Former Biology Teacher says:

    Wow. Check out all those STEM majors with high unemployment rates. It’s time we stop pushing those subjects on kids so much.

  3. I’m pleased to see how well art history ranks lately!