Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | July 29, 2011

Overexpansion of higher education

BBC about Chinese higher education:

The authorities are trying to slow down the expansion of higher education. “They realise it’s a problem to produce students with high expectations,” said Zhang Dong Hui, an associate professor of public policy at Renmin University in Beijing.

I hear anecdotal evidence of he same kind from other countries, too. Can anyone provide me with appropriate references/links?


  1. This might not be so helpful, but your post reminded me of this New Yorker cartoon:

  2. Hi Alex,

    Below are some links you may find interesting:

    Counter-point to the above:

    On education as a (non-functioning) tool for increasing equality:

    I also recommend Alison Wolf’s book “Does Education Matter” for an in-depth study relevant to the UK.



  3. They say that higher education levels in Kashmir have been (among?) the highest in India before the troubles started..Unfortunately, I do not have a reference.

  4. I am skeptical about this. In China, educated people have no problem finding a decent job. The jobless people are mainly people above 45 who worked in steal industry or alike and have no new skills needed in current times, there is oversupply of people there who can be only guards, waitresses and cleaners and such have say 10 times smaller salaries. So the parents in China ask their children to be among the best, and they study until midnight and over it, doing lots of homeworks, but still many can not make it through top grades and entrance criteria at the universities. It may be that if they succeed through they will get less than they expect but still they are much better off than if they did not make it. It might be that with say, physics degree you won’t find a physics job, but the car company unit will take rather you even in sales department than the person without college.

    • I mean even if the college graduate will not get 10-20 times more than without college, if she accepts the offer, she can get one which is 5 times higher paid than the generic guard/waitress low paid job with several years of such experience. So being educated is while not as bug advantage as 5 years ago, still a definite advantage in China. While in Croatia you are more likely to have lower salary with college than if you had worked somewhere those few years of college time and in US the same may be through for the years spent between masters and PhD level.

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