Job security starts to supersede study

Graduates reassess value of further learning in light of pandemic, competitive employment market

By ZHAO YIMENG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-01-09 07:38
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Students taking the postgraduate studies entrance exam glance at their textbooks before entering the examination rooms at Jiangsu University of Technology in Jiangsu province on Dec 23. CHEN WEI/XINHUA

Yang Ziru, 22, had prepared for nearly a year to take the postgraduate studies entrance exam, but last month — 20 days before she was due to take the test — she abandoned her academic ambitions.

The journalism major from Chengdu, Sichuan province, planned to study for a master's degree in philosophy, which she hoped would help her find a satisfying job and a good career.

"I gradually realized a master's degree in philosophy might limit my career options as I am determined to seek opportunities in the internet business after graduation," Yang said.

Her decision is indicative of an emerging trend of college graduates appearing more realistic about whether they need to pursue postgraduate studies.

On a freezing cold morning last month, graduates gathered at a testing station in Beijing flipping through textbooks as they nervously prepared for the postgraduate studies entrance exam. The scene was repeated nationwide.

However, this year's exam saw the number of applicants fall by 7.6 percent year-on-year to 4.38 million, the first drop in nine years, according to figures from the Ministry of Education.

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