Criterion of the Month
Ref: COM_January_2014


Over educated?

Stéphane Garelli

By Emeritus Professor Stéphane GarelliStéphane Garelli

Most countries complain that “under education” is a major hindrance to their competitiveness. The latest PISA report conducted by the OECD outlines again the strong performance of Korea, part of China, Switzerland and Finland on students achievement in sciences. The criterion of this month corroborates the same trends, although taking a wider scope on education and competitiveness. But could “better” be an issue? Are we now – sometimes – overeducating the next generation?

In Korea, each year, 50’000 university graduates do not find a job while 30’000 jobs requiring secondary school qualifications remain unfilled. In the OECD, 56% of the 18 years old out of secondary schools go to the University; but more than 7 in 10 do so in Korea and Finland. The Samsung Research Institute estimates that 40% of the Koreans university graduates are now “overeducated”. And in Finland, still, 19.1% of the 16-24 years old remain unemployed… The lesson: Competitiveness does not rely solely on university graduates but also on an apprenticeship system. Germany, Switzerland or the Netherlands which rely on such a dual track education have some of the lowest unemployment levels.

Over educated?
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