: BBC: China opens a new university every week

15:31 Mar. 16, 2016

BBC: China opens a new university every week

Graduates from Peking Union Medical College take commemorative photos in Tienanmen Square. (Getty Images)

China is moving from cheap production to an economy of high skills

It is part of a silent revolution that is causing a huge shift in the composition of the world's population of graduates.

For decades, the United States had the highest proportion of people going to university. They dominated the graduate market.

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In the United States, students have been struggling to afford university costs. In Europe, most countries have put a brake on expanding their universities by either not making public investments or not allowing universities to raise money themselves.

But if the West has been sleeping, China and other Asian countries such as India have raced ahead.

It isn't simply about bigger student numbers. Students in China and India are much more likely to study mathematics, sciences, computing and engineering - the subjects most relevant to innovation and technological advance.

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In 2013, 40% of Chinese graduates completed their studies in a Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subject - more than twice the share of US graduates.

By 2030, China and India could account for more than 60% of the Stem graduates in major economies, compared with only 8% in Europe and 4% in the United States.

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