A university degree in China used to be a ticket to instant success in a country where tertiary education was rare and valued. No longer. Likemany things in China, from exporting shoes to building high-speed trains, there has been a Great Leap Forward in advanced education that leads to doubts about its quality and value in real life.
More than seven million Chinese students are expected to graduate from the country’s universities this summer, an astonishing five-fold increase over the number 10 years ago.
China has overtaken the United States as the biggest conferrer of PhDs in the world, with 50,000 new ones in 2009, compared to 10,000 just 10 years earlier. In addition, a total of 1.27 million Chinese are studying abroad, according to the Ministry of Education, the largest number of any country worldwide. Last year alone, 285,000 Chinese went abroad to study, 24 per cent more than in 2009. Most popular is the US, followed by Australia, Japan, Britain, South Korea, Canada and Singapore.