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.