As the enrollment of postgraduate education programs expand gradually in China’s universities, the number of postgraduate students is catching up with that of undergraduate students in some key universities.|
“The class of this year’s undergraduates in our university only has 56 students, only the half of the class of postgraduates,” said a freshman surnamed Zhang majoring in history at Nanjing University.
Other universities in Nanjing also started to see similar cases from last year. The number of undergraduate students in Nanjing University of Science and Technology and Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics is nearly the same as that of the postgraduate students there.
In recent years, the Ministry of Education made the proposal of building several key universities in China into research-oriented ones.
“One of the important features of research-oriented universities is that the postgraduates outnumber undergraduates,” said Wang Bo, director of the students’ employment office of Nanjing University of Science and Technology.
The heated entrance exams for postgraduate schools in China have also driven the promotion of postgraduate education in universities.
More than half of the senior students in Southeast University choose to take the exams every year and most of them apply for postgraduate programs at their alma mater.
However, the large number of graduates poses a problem in reality as they are not so easy to find a proper job as their schoolmates in previous years do.
According to the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education, the employment rate of fresh graduates with master’s or doctor’s degree was 86.62 percent, and that of fresh graduates with bachelor’s degree and junior college graduates were 90.30 percent and 94.10 percent for the class of 2011.
Postgraduates have higher expectations on their career and some majoring in humanities are hard to find jobs exactly matching their majors, so they lack behind in landing a job, said an official with the provincial education department.
The education for undergraduates and postgraduates is not imbalanced nationwide, said Qian Zhong, an expert on higher education with Nanjing University.
He said in some foreign universities, the number of postgraduate students is larger than that of undergraduate students and the education for them is different based on different levels, which is not improper.
But Zhong also pointed out that the surge in the enrollment of postgraduate students in some universities is to overcome the difficulties of undergraduates in finding a job and postpone their employment age.
It is a temporary solution which is inadvisable, he said.
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