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UPDATED: September 27, 2013 NO. 40, OCTOBER 3, 2013
Is College Education Useless?


September is traditionally the month during which newly enrolled students go to college in China. However, a girl named Lingling might miss this opportunity even though she passed the college entrance examination. Unfortunately although he can afford to send her, her father thinks that attending college is a waste of money. The story has since triggered heated debate. According to a survey conducted on September 1, of more than 10,000 citizens, 70 percent believe "all roads lead to Rome" and that college is definitely not a student's only means of progress.

In recent years, many college graduates have found it difficult to secure a job, particularly those from rural areas. In addition to high tuition fees and strenuous job prospects, low wage levels also disappoint many graduates, as it does their families who enroll them in further education precisely in the hope that their own financial situation might improve. The following are excerpts of opinions:

Wang Peng (www.cnhubei.com): In 2009, more than 10,000 middle school graduates in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality gave up the college entrance examination, which shocked the public at the time. Recently, Lingling's situation is again highlighting the feeling that "college is useless." Are there any grounds for 70 percent of surveyed people to think college education is useless?

People doubt the necessity of attending college due to tuition fees being too high in many cases, which seldom guarantees a bright future. Besides, with the widespread worship of money throughout Chinese society, education's role in securing the maximum possible income has become the only measurement of success.

Neglecting education will undoubtedly have dire consequences for the whole of society. In order to address current apprehension, college quality and access must be improved, alongside the much needed creation of jobs.

Tu Batu (nen.com.cn): Instead of blaming Lingling's father, why not blame the current education system, which forces one to link college education to investment.

Under the current education system, students stand to gain a vast amount of knowledge and are made capable of dealing with examinations, but lack practical work experience and problem-solving skills. Compared with the strict environment of primary and middle schools, colleges are much more relaxed and fail to distill the necessary discipline among students to successfully graduate and find work amidst tough competition.

At certain colleges, teachers focus too much on their own research and promotion, instead of on educating their students. Gaining a diploma is easy. All you need to do is pass an exam or two. If students are left to their own devices, post-graduation life might be a struggle.

College education is nowadays a very costly endeavor for ordinary families who have to weigh the pros and cons of further education compared to finding their kids employment straight after middle school.

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