Imagine going to school for 18 years and having no proof of it afterwards.
That’s the situation some Chinese university graduates are currently facing. As the New York Times reports, losing your ‘file’ in China (a sealed envelope handled by Chinese government officials containing the sole existing record of all of your credentials) can mean losing your future.
In this case, Xue Longlong, along with 10 or so other college graduates with once-bright futures, had their files “lost” (they suspect they were stolen and sold), thus losing proof of their university education and any hope of finding well-paying jobs. Now, they’re struggling to pay off their student debts while working low-paying gigs.
Xiaomei, Longlong’s sister, is quoted as saying that although she once thought that she, too, would go to university, she’s now reconsidering because of what happened to her brother.
“I want to quit,” she said during a school lunch break. “My brother graduated from college. What good did it do him?”
Here in North America, we’re always being told that postsecondary education is about higher learning, and not just a piece of paper. We’re always reminded that our motivation should be a desire to learn and expand our minds, rather than simply to get a good job.
Elsewhere in the world, this story reminds us, not everybody has that luxury.