Do India and China See Rising Graduate Unemployment?

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India and China have seen a huge influx of college graduates in the last few years. This year alone will see more than 7 million students graduate from institutions in China. However, the economy has not been able to keep up with these educated students, leaving a large number unemployed or underemployed.

What are the differences in the issues in China and those in India?

Although many of the issues created by the unemployment of graduates are similar in both countries, the root causes of the problem are different. In India, there has been a significant increase in the youth population, making the pool of potential graduates much greater. China, on the other hand, has increased the availability of higher learning institutions, allowing students that would not have been able to attend school to do so. Both of these result in a much larger number of graduates than there were 20 years ago.

How have the students responded to the problems?

Both the Indian and the Chinese governments fear the possible political and economic repercussions of the well-educated and disappointed youth, but so far there has been minimal kick-back. Many students have continued waiting for a job because they still believe that there is one out there for them. Instead of becoming hostile towards the state, they remain optimistic and have adjusted their expectations. However, sociologists and economists warn that if there are no changes it is likely that there will be a reaction that could damage the political or economical structure of the countries.

What has the government done to address the problem, and what effects are expected?

In China, the ministry of education has expressed plans to change 600 universities into polytechnics, schools that focus on job skills and employability, instead of theoretical or academic subjects. An increase in university educated students was supposed to help China transition from a manufacturing based economy to a innovation heavy knowledge based economy, but the lack of jobs is not allowing this to happen. China is now an important player in the global economy, so this lack of change could greatly affect long-term global plans.

The government of India has not officially responded to the crisis, although looking at their economic condition makes a case for why they should. India expected the increase in the student demographic would cause a large increase to the national GDP, but without jobs, this increase may not happen. Instead, India will remain a low-income economy that fails to grow evenly.

Economists and sociologists alike know the potential for unrest that lies in highly-educated people who are unemployed. Without a significant change to the job structure in China and India, these students may be as harmful as the governments fear. If China and India still hope to be significant global players, there will have to be a change to how they employ their graduates.


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