Among a bunch of newly approved measures to boost new-graduate employment — greater freedom to move about the country to look for work; more help to start a business — is an intruiging one: graduates who find jobs in towns and villages in central and western China will have their tuition refunded.
Similar terms will be available to those who join the army. The authorities have previously encouraged new graduates to “Go West”, but this is the first time the government has offered to refund tuition as an inducement, according to Chen Guangjin of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, quoted in the China Daily.
Of China’s 10 million new graduates last year, more than one in eight — 1.5 million people — had failed to find a job by the end of last year. Higher eduction enrollments have risen sharply since 1999 in line with economic development ambitions. The consequence in an economic down turn has been a corresponding upsurge in new-graduate unemployment.
Unemployment has become an overriding concern for the leadership, but this group is a particular worry. The latest measures follow a meeting specifically on the subject chaired by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. Unemployed new graduates represent not only a potential loss of valuable human capital but also a potential source of articulate dissatisfaction.