Next Made-in-China Boom: College Graduates

On 09/08/2013 by Site Default

Zhang Xiaoping’s mother dropped out of school after sixth grade. Her father, one of 10 children, never attended.

Is China becoming more of a competitive challenge to the United States, Europe and Japan through its rapid expansion of education?

But Ms. Zhang, 20, is part of a new generation of Chinese taking advantage of a national effort to produce college graduates in numbers the world has never seen before.

A pony-tailed junior at a new university here in southern China, Ms. Zhang has a major in English. But her unofficial minor is American pop culture, which she absorbs by watching episodes of television shows like “The Vampire Diaries” and “America’s Next Top Model” on the Internet.

It is all part of her highly specific ambition: to work some day for a Chinese automaker and provide the cultural insights and English fluency the company needs to supply the next generation of fuel-efficient taxis that New York City plans to choose in 2021. “It is my dream,” she said, “and I will devote myself wholeheartedly to it.”

Even if her dream is only dorm-room reverie, China has tens of millions of Ms. Zhangs — bright young people whose aspirations and sheer numbers could become potent economic competition for the West in decades to come…

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/business/chinas-ambitious-goal-for-boom-in-college-graduates.html?pagewanted=all

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