Student Riots in China

Rioting in China over Label of College Diploma – NYT

I’ve always wondered if Chinese students were capable of getting angry enought to riot and clearly they are. Okay, so it’s a sob story that they got cheated from getting a Zhengzhou University degree. I understand their anger but cry me a river. The real blame here is on the Chinese system itself which is essentially allowing the purchase of college degrees along with the unfounded promise of jobs. The Chinese are hungry as ever for success as millions of peasants look for routes to the middle class. Families push their sons (and now daughters) to do as well as possible to get into college. The reality is that it is indeed difficult to get in to a good University but once you’re in, it’s easy to get a degree. So, you’ve got thousands of college grads that aren’t that smart and aren’t necessarily prepared to get a good job. The numbers are against the graduates anyway: 4.1 million grads, 60% having trouble finding jobs.

So, the Chinese solution? “Enhance the value of degrees from high schools and vocational schools.” How about trying to enhance the value of the college undergraduate degree by making it harder to graduate (i.e. make sure the students actually learn something in college instead of just ushering the kids throug college)? That way, you won’t have so many grads AND the grads will be better educated, prepared for the good workplace jobs.

So often the decree comes down from the government levels: we want more college students and more colleges. That’s a great, well-intentioned gesture toward educating the people of China. But the issue always is in the implementation. They went for quantity not quality.