Many people are saying this is not a problem particular to China.
I agree. So if most of the developed nations around the world are experiencing the fallout of an oversupply of educated people expecting to enter the labor market at a certain place then perhaps the expectations are the issue.
Education is a means to an end, that end being to solve problems.
This is lost on more than a generation or two who have been bred to believe that having been exposed to a body of knowledge for a particular period of time directly correlates to gainful remuneration in an economy. The whole world is now treating [a particular kind] education as an end in itself around which the market is morally obligated to conform itself. This is the problem.
Where is the discipline of failure in this?
I believe today’s (and yesterday’s for that matter) educrats could take cues from trade schools who are better acquainted with the discipline of failure and who churn out qualified welders, truck drivers, health care workers etc. in a fairly precise measure in accordance with demand in the marketplace. If the demand dries up for a particular trade so does their enrollment in that area – but I don’t hear anyone decrying this injustice. But that’s probably because, for now, the demand is huge for trades and paying as much as middle management stuffed-shirt work currently being automated away. Like other commenters have said young people need to be prepared to do what needs doing; whether they are overeducated in China, Europe or here in the US.