Segments in this Video

China Privatizes University Education (01:26)


In 1997, China privatized universities. Higher education became a commodity. Top students go to state subsidized universities; the rest pay more at private colleges.

Advertising to Students (02:33)

A for-profit college sends professors give talks and draw students. Poorly-educated rural Chinese students end up in low-quality, for profit colleges.

Disappointing Grade (03:19)

A student receives her exam grades and is devastated. She and her mother talk over the result and her plans.

Graduating in China (01:16)

A university graduate gets his certificate. He talks about what it means for him and says it will enable him to contribute to society.

Struggling Graduate (01:51)

A college graduate in China from a non-elite university goes to a job fair but finds little luck.

Job Search (00:56)

A Chinese college recruiter talks about job opportunities and a head-hunting company affiliated with the college. A man says the college is not serving students well in this regard.

Student's Goals (01:52)

A Chinese student says if she quit her studies and worked in the city, it would be hard to give her parents a better life in the future. She doubts she can go to a top university, however.

Selling Education (02:02)

A man says education is a lucrative industry in China; education is very valuable to parents and kids. Rural kids fall for for-profit colleges' offers but lack the background to succeed.

Job Interview (01:53)

A Chinese job-seeker talks to an interviewer, answering questions about his abilities, goals and weaknesses.

Trial Period (02:43)

A man hears back from a company offering him a one-week trial, followed by three-month probation. He goes and starts work.

Family Quarrel (03:03)

A Chinese student talks to her mother about her college search. At dinner, her father says one college is a con and blames the girl's mother for her poor grades.

Looking for Housing (01:34)

A young Chinese man at his new job calls his father during lunch; his father offers to send him money. He looks for a place to rent.

Manipulative College Recruiter (03:49)

A professor giving lectures recruiting for a college talks to interviewers about how he manipulates parents and students through rhetorical techniques, and the lies he tells about the college.

Financial Struggles (01:16)

A young Chinese man pays his rent. He is struggling with basic expenses on his salary.

Salesmanship (01:51)

A professor is on the road selling his college, a task that consists of tricking people into going there as far as he is concerned.

Extended Family (01:23)

An extended family in China talks about what they're eating and how it fits into their budget.

Challenges for Struggling Students (00:45)

A Chinese mother wishes her daughter had gotten better grades, because top universities are less expensive than others. Nevertheless, she will support her through college.

Struggling Employee (03:50)

A newly employed worker in China struggles at his job. He is very upset and fears being fired. A professor marketing the college the man went to boasts about students' success in the job market.

Raising Funds for College (03:11)

A Chinese family holds a party to raise money for their daughter's tuition. She did poorly on her exams. The mother invites neighbors and pretends to reject their money.

Struggling Job-Seeker (02:56)

A Chinese man struggles with his job search but finds an opportunity. He arrives late for training and is reprimanded.

Job-Seekers' Get-Together (02:35)

A Chinese man talks about his struggle to find a job. At a restaurant, several job seekers talk about their situation. Society is unfair, and the country has lost its communist principles, one complains.

Recruiting (01:44)

College professors prepare for public lectures to prospective students.

Peasants Scammed by College (03:39)

A prospective students take an assessment for a college in China. An administrator reveals to us that he feels guilty about poor, simple peasant families who spend too much on colleges like his that aren't worth it.

Borrowing for College (01:53)

A family receives an acceptance letter from a college. The daughter worries about going into debt; her mother urges her not to worry. The family holds a party to raise money.

Rejected Job Applicant (01:36)

A Chinese job-seeker tells us he will not take a job if it pays too little. The employer calls to turn him down.

Off to College (01:52)

A mother talks to her daughter about college. She sings a song about struggles in school.

Failure of Private Colleges (01:21)

The college featured in the program was shut down after the owner ran off with the money. Many graduates of China's private colleges do not find jobs.

Additional Resources & Credits: Education, Education: What Does an Education Get You?- Why Poverty? (00:36)

Additional Resources & Credits: Education, Education: What Does an Education Get You?- Why Poverty

Town and Country (01:38)

A rural Chinese child says kids from the city are rich; a city child agrees but says rural children have more fun. A poor Chinese family has great difficulty affording college. Additional resources & credits.

Miseducation (04:10)

An 11-year-old South African girl talks about her fear of walking alone in the street, and fears being raped or shot in gang cross-fire. Additional resources and credits.

Afghan Girl (00:57)

An Afghan girl herds sheep. She says she would rather go to school, but her father says she needs to tend the sheep.

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Education, Education: What Does an Education Get You?—Why Poverty?

Part of the Series : Why Poverty?
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When the Chinese government privatized universities in 1997 education became a commodity, with some institutions charging the equivalent of 60 years of income in exchange for a college degree. And while many saw the steep cost as a good investment, the system now produces more than 2 million graduates every year who join the “ant tribe”—a battalion of recent grads unable to find work. This program examines trends in Chinese education that leave young people barred from good employment opportunities, or hopelessly in debt, making schooling a cause of poverty instead of a way out of it. A viewable/printable instructor’s guide is available online. A part of the series Why Poverty? (Portions with English subtitles, 59 minutes + 7 minutes of bonus material)

Length: 66 minutes

Item#: BVL55236

ISBN: 978-0-81608-756-3

Copyright date: ©2012

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