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College student's father deems higher education worthless

By Huang Zhiling | | Updated: 2013-09-02 19:43

Ling Ling (not her real name) is worried as Sept 7, the last day for her to enroll in a university in Chengdu, Sichuan province, as a first-year student, approaches.

"My dad doesn't want to pay for my university education as he believes the investment in higher education can't be recouped," the 19-year-old told Chengdu Economic Daily.

Ling was born in a small village in northern Sichuan. All her relatives are farmers. Upon completion of their primary school education, her parents started a small business.

Five years ago, they moved to Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, with Ling and her younger brother. They have purchased an apartment and a small shop there.

"My family isn't short of money. My father doesn't want me to pursue university education because he thinks it not worthwhile going to university," Ling said.

Her father estimates it will cost a total of 80,000 yuan ($12,690) in tuition fees and living expenses to finish a four-year university education. If his daughter works for four years instead, she can earn at least 80,000 yuan in four years. With that money, she can start a small business.

"In my neighborhood, at least 10 university graduates cannot find jobs and stay at home," her father told Chengdu Economic Daily.

He said as a primary school graduate, he earned more than many university graduates with his small business. He said his view that attending a university is not worthwhile is not groundless, citing that nearly 7 million students graduated from institutions of higher learning nationwide this year and their employment situation is grim.

To persuade her father to support her higher education financially, Ling has pestered him every day for a month. But her efforts have been in vain.

After her story spread online at a local news portal, a survey was launched on the website to solicit netizens' opinions.

More than 10,000 netizens replied and 71 percent supported her father's view. About 50 percent thought society was a good university and about 20 percent thought a person could improve himself or herself anywhere.

Despite strong opposition from survey respondents, 55 readers of Chengdu Economic Daily said higher education could broaden one's horizons. They want to help Ling financially since she cannot borrow money from her relatives who share her father's view.

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