“Graduation means unemployment”, say youth in China

Posted on March 24, 2010

In the last 5 years, it has been easy to find news and reports about youth unemployment in the Chinese media. The problem of youth unemployment has become a home truth such that nearly all the Chinese know the by-phrase that “graduation means unemployment”.

In my opinion, youth unemployment can be classified into two kinds: people with an educational background higher than a bachelor’s degree and people whose educational level is lower than college. My emphasis is on the former because it is more severe than the latter.

As is known to all, the imbalance between the supply and demand in job market leads to youth unemployment. Two main reasons contribute to the problem. First and foremost; the knowledge we acquire in university is unable to match the requirement of the job market. With expansion in university enrollment, the quality of teaching has not been the proportionate priority. Unfortunately, we want to study and we are studying, but we do not know what to study to fit into our jobs in the future. This reminds me that the prices of agricultural products go up and down like on a roller coaster every year. Why? The reason lies in the reality that now the Chinese do not worry about production techniques any more. What makes them worry is that they do not know the recent need of the market, so they plant blindly. If the price of some agricultural product was high last year, they rush to plant this kind. Naturally, the price will plummet this year. Secondly, there is little opportunity for the youth to learn the society through their personal practice. Without internship, it is extremely difficult for them to find a satisfactory job. There exists a very apparent phenomenon at school: good luck is always owned by outstanding people and his or her good luck accumulates day after day. For example, if a student studies well, he or she will be honored as a student good in three aspects (good in studies, attitude and health). Besides, he or she will have a chance to participate in various nationwide activities. In turn, he or she will be regarded as more preeminent than common students. Good students have a positive cycle but the broad mass of the people are omitted. They have no chance to get an honor, to attend forums, to be elected as leaders, let alone pass tough exams and interviews to become interns. No wonder so many graduates cannot find a suitable job.

As to how we can raise youth employment rates, my first advice is to open the courses in different universities to all undergraduates. Though the students in Peking university and Tsinghua University can receive first-rank education, the remaining universities still have no chance to share the resources. One of my classmates even went to attend a class in Peking University every Wednesday because he really admired the brilliance of the teacher. However, he had to play truant because his own curriculum conflicted with the other one. It is indeed unfair to most students. In addition, I would desire corporations to offer more internships to the undergraduate who is not at the peak of his or her class. On one hand, this is a way to help undergraduates improve themselves. On the other hand, it benefits the corporation, because the corporation can find the most suitable one for the position through face-to-face interaction. Last but not the least, undergraduates should get rid of the notion that only working in Fortune Global 500’s Largest Corporations in the World is worth considering.

The writer is a Youth Ki Awaaz correspondent in China.

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