The Production of College Graduates: Food for Thought for Educators
Posted on 09/07/2012
The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD (www)), an international organization composed of 34 countries committed to democracy and the market economy, has recently produced the series of briefs Education Indicators in Focus (www). The series demonstrates the rapidly changing landscape of college degree holders in the 25–34 year-old age range among various leading nations of the world. This column presents findings from the briefs.
OECD estimates that, in 2000, there were about 91 million college graduates across OECD and non-OECD G20 countries—about 51 million and about 39 million, respectively. The G20 economies partially overlap with OECD (10 countries are members of both organizations) and account for above 80 percent of the gross world product, about 80 percent of world trade, and about 66 percent of the world’s population. Of the 91 million college graduates, 17 percent were in the United States, 17 percent in China, 12 percent in the Russian Federation, and 10 percent each in Japan and India.
By 2010, OECD estimates that the 91 million college graduates had grown to 129 million. Of these, 66 million were in OECD countries, while 64 million were in non-OECD G20 countries. Further, 18 percent were in China, 14 percent in the United States, and 11 percent each in the Russian Federation and India.
Looking ahead to 2020, OECD projects 204 million college graduates, approximately 41 percent of them from China (29 percent) and India (12 percent). The United States' share is projected at 11 percent, followed by the Russian Federation with 7 percent, and Japan with 4 percent. The highest-ranking European Union country is expected to be the United Kingdom, also at 4 percent.
The size of the populations in the various OECD and non-OECD G20 countries account for many of these differences. For example, by 2020, China aims to have 20 percent of its citizens—or 195 million persons—earning a college degree. If China realizes this goal, its population of college degree holders will be roughly equal in size to the entire projected population of 25–64 year-olds in the United States in 2020.
From the OVAE Connection (www), newsletter of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U. S. Department of Education, August 9, 2012