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Anhui to cut disciplines that don't lead to jobs

By Zhu Lixin in Hefei | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-09 09:44


Authorities in Anhui province recently ruled that academic disciplines taught at colleges and universities will be suspended if they fail to result in a sufficient number of graduates landing jobs or entering further studies.

Disciplines in which less than 60 percent of graduates enter employment or continue education for three consecutive years will be liable to suspension or even revocation, according to a guideline released by the provincial government in mid-July.

The new regulation has drawn a great deal of national attention since it was reported in the media.

"It is not possible for the graduation destination fulfillment rate of an academic discipline to remain low for three years, and so the policy's orientation is very clear," said an expert from a local college in Anhui who gave his surname as He.

"The new employment-oriented policy will push local colleges toward supply-side reform, so that we are better able to meet the need for talent," said the man, who is responsible for graduate employment at the college.

The term "graduation destination fulfillment rate", coined last year by the Ministry of Education in a bid to better evaluate graduate employment, replaces the previously used term "employment rate", according to Xiong Bingqi, director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute.

The new statistical parameters include not only graduates that are employed, but also those with startups, and those pursuing further education or flexible employment, Xiong wrote in an article in Guangming Daily.

In addition to suspending or revoking 1,400 existing courses, provincial authorities have vowed to add a further 1,000 academic disciplines at the undergraduate and vocational levels over the next three years, according to the guideline.

By then, over 70 percent of remaining academic disciplines will be targeted toward serving the province's 10 strategic emerging industries, which require some two million graduates.

Anhui has listed 10 sectors as strategic emerging industries, among them new-generation information technology, new energy vehicles and intelligent and connected vehicles, and artificial intelligence.

Experts have said these emerging industries have contributed greatly to the province's rapid economic growth in recent years.

Anhui University, which is located in the provincial capital of Hefei, has so far revoked 12 academic disciplines considered to be of low societal need and has suspended four more believed to possess insufficiently distinctive characteristics, according to Kuang Guangli, president of the university.

The regulation has been criticized from the perspective that ensuring a high employment rate should not be a college's primary purpose.

"The creation of academic disciplines should not be employment oriented, as this will deliver the misleading message that students should be unnecessarily burdened by the decision over what to major in," said one comment on Rednet.cn, a news website in Hunan province.

Zhang Haoran contributed to this story.

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