Graphs from GlobalHigherEd: Percentage of Post-Secondary Degrees By Country

GlobalHigherEd has posted on Twitter this graph, which predicts the world’s production of degrees in higher education, from data supplied by OECD, UNESCO, and various National Statistics websites, for 2020:

The graph below, of the historic data, may be a little bit more difficult to read, but the upshot is clear: while countries that have dominated higher education and innovation over the last few decades are registering losses in their production of a population armed with higher education degrees, certain other countries are gaining. China’s share of post-secondary degrees held by members of its population aged 25-34 is to grow from a current 18% to a whopping 29% by 2020. 

For one perspective on these statistics, you can go to the BBC’s article published earlier today, “End of Empire for Western Universities?” For an American-centric perspective, you can turn to University World News. The question is, where are the Canadian perspectives? How should we assess a situation in which Canada produced 2% of the degrees in post-secondary education in G20 countries in 2000; 2% in 2010; and is projected to be producing — yes, that’s right — 2% in 2020? Shouldn’t we too, like India, like Indonesia, like China — be increasing our investment in post-secondary education, and producing a higher percentage of citizens equipped with a post-secondary education? If Canada is going to simply hold at producing 2% of the world’s degrees in higher education, how can it be said that any Canadian province has “over-invested” in post-secondary education? And what do we imagine will be the consequences for Canada’s prosperity?

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