India and China will between them have 40% of the world's university graduates by the end of this decade, new estimates released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show. However, most of the growth between now and 2020 will be in China, with India's share barely rising.
The total pool of graduates is expected to expand from 129 million in 2010 to 204 million in 2020, but the bulk of this growth is taking place in non-OECD G20 countries, including India, China, the Russian Federation, Indonesia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. As a result, the share of Europe, North America and Japan is declining.
By 2020, India will have more graduates than the United States. The OECD looks at graduates between 25 and 34 years of age, thus implying 'fresh graduates'.
India, which is set to surpass China as the world's most populous country by 2020, will have not even half as many graduates as China by then. India had 14 million graduates in 2010 and is expected to grow to 24.48 million in ten years.
While the number of higher education institutions has expanded — 523 universities and 33,000 colleges in 2011 — the numbers are still very low compared to India's population.
China has doubled its number of tertiary institutions over just ten years. It aims for 20% of its citizens to have tertiary degrees by 2020.