China will continue to enroll more college students this year, but the rate of increase will hit its lowest point in 10 years, the Ministry of Education said recently.
China plans to enroll 5.99 million college students in 2008, up five percent from the previous year. It includes three million students for undergraduate education and 2.99 million for college-level vocational training.
The growth rate, which follows a nine-year downward trend, will hit its lowest point in 2008 since China first expanded college enrollment in 1997.
The ministry did not give the reason for the trend but a rising rate of unemployment in China is a possible factor.
About 20 percent of university students who graduated in 2007 have so far failed to find employment, according to a blue paper issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Many college graduates have turned to civil service. This resulted in highly competitive civil servant recruitment examinations.
Since China began organizing the examinations in 1994, the civil service has become one of the most popular professions of job seekers as it offers a stable income, high social status and good welfare insurance.
In 2007, more than 530,000 applicants competed for 12,700 government jobs -- 42 people competing for each position on average.
This year, more than 800,000 applicants will sit for the civil service examination in December, according to a statement on the ministry's website.
(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2008)