True grad­u­ate em­ploy­ment rates re­quired

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - AS CHINA EX­PECTS

7.95 mil­lion col­lege stu­dents to grad­u­ate next year, the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion has is­sued a no­tice not only en­cour­ag­ing and sup­port­ing en­trepreneur­ship and in­no­va­tion among them, but also ban­ning uni­ver­si­ties from forc­ing grad­u­ates to sign fake em­ploy­ment con­tracts. Bei­jing Youth Daily com­mented on Fri­day:

It is not rare that some col­lege grad­u­ates are “em­ployed” by un­known em­ploy­ers without their con­sent, just be­cause the uni­ver­si­ties want de­cent em­ploy­ment fig­ures for their grad­u­ates, which they can sub­se­quently flaunt. Some col­leges go even fur­ther and threaten to with­hold grad­u­ates’ diplo­mas if they do not find a job by a cer­tain date.

The au­dac­ity of these col­leges is a re­sult of how many grad­u­ates find a job on leav­ing cam­pus still plays a role in the des­tiny of their ma­jors. As a re­sult, stu­dents in their last year in col­lege are “en­cour­aged” to make job-seek­ing their pri­or­ity, leav­ing lim­ited time for them to fo­cus on their cour­ses and dis­ser­ta­tions. Some of them will even pur­chase forged con­tracts from on­line mer­chants to stop the col­lege’s con­stant pes­ter­ing.

The truth is the num­ber of the first-time em­ployed grad­u­ates should not be ma­nip­u­lated by the col­leges be­cause it tells lit­tle about the real grad­u­ate em­ploy­ment sit­u­a­tion. The data is nor­mally col­lected by uni-

ver­si­ties them­selves, hence is likely to be ex­ag­ger­ated as a re­sult of their re­cruit­ment con­cerns. The re­spon­si­ble ed­u­ca­tional au­thor­i­ties, too, may turn a deaf ear to any doubts about the au­then­tic­ity of the num­bers in order to avoid in­creas­ing their work­load.

Be­sides, nearly 30 per­cent of the sur­veyed grad­u­ates will change their jobs within six months, and most of those fail­ing to land a job im­me­di­ately af­ter grad­u­at­ing will be em­ployed not long af­ter, ac­cord­ing to re­cent sur­vey re­sults. That is why many for­eign uni­ver­si­ties tend to look at long-term em­ploy­ment rates, for ex­am­ple, over three or five years, with the data col­lected by third-party or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Such an ap­proach gives more time for stu­dents to fin­ish their course­work and seek jobs, and of­fers more ac­cu­rate find­ings in re­gards to grad­u­ates’ em­ploy­ment sit­u­a­tion. Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties have all the more rea­son to fol­low this ap­proach as al­most 8 mil­lion grad­u­ates will be look­ing for a job when they grad­u­ate next year.

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