US: Marty Nemko has a hard-hitting piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled America's Most Overrated Product: the Bachelor's Degree.
Among my saddest moments as a career counselor is when I hear a story like this: "I wasn't a good student in high school, but I wanted to prove that I can get a college diploma. I'd be the first one in my family to do it. But it's been five years and $80,000, and I still have 45 credits to go."
I have a hard time telling such people the killer statistic: Among high-school students who graduated in the bottom 40 percent of their classes, and whose first institutions were four-year colleges, two-thirds had not earned diplomas eight and a half years later. That figure is from a study cited by Clifford Adelman, a former research analyst at the U.S. Department of Education and now a senior research associate at the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Yet four-year colleges admit and take money from hundreds of thousands of such students each year!
Even worse, most of those college dropouts leave the campus having learned little of value, and with a mountain of debt and devastated self-esteem from their unsuccessful struggles. Perhaps worst of all, even those who do manage to graduate too rarely end up in careers that require a college education. So it's not surprising that when you hop into a cab or walk into a restaurant, you're likely to meet workers who spent years and their family's life savings on college, only to end up with a job they could have done as a high-school dropout.
Such students are not aberrations. Today, amazingly, a majority of the students whom colleges admit are grossly underprepared. Only 23 percent of the 1.3 million high-school graduates of 2007 who took the ACT examination were ready for college-level work in the core subjects of English, math, reading, and science.
US: Elia Powers summarizes a recent study that looked at why college graduates earn more than their peers.
... [F]inancial returns are immediate for college alumni first seeking employment, and that typically doesn’t change with labor market experience.
The authors note that college students are often rewarded right away because their resumes include information on grades, majors, standardized test scores and college attended — all of which allows employers to sort individuals by background.
On the other hand, individual ability is revealed to the job market much more gradually for high school graduates, whose wages are initially “completely unrelated to their own ability,” the report notes. Their financial returns rise steeply with experience, in part because employers at first have limited data on their ability to perform.
The Ministry of Education has decided to curb rapid expansion of doctoral programs at universities as China sees more doctoral degree holders being churned out annually than the United States. [...] China produced about 50,000 doctors in 2006, a similar figure with the United States. [...] The national expenditure on research and development, however, was roughly one ninth of the U.S. federal R&D spending in the same year, according to statistics. [...] Yang said the ministry is going to keep the doctoral program admission growth rate under two percent each year [...]
China sees soaring numbers of doctoral degree holders. In 1983 the country for the first time produced 19 doctors. Too rapid expansion of doctoral programs in recent years resulted in mass production with its quality being questioned. It's not rare to see one professor advises more than two dozens of doctoral candidates in research institutes or universities.