Emerging powerhouses China and India will lead the way in churning out university graduates by the end of the decade, the OECD said Wednesday.
Forty percent of the over 200 million university graduates aged 25 to 34 in 2020 will come from the two countries, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
"By contrast, the United States and the European Union countries are expected to account for just over a quarter of young people with tertiary degrees in OECD and G20 countries," the OECD said in a new education report.
China alone will account for 29% of graduates in 2020, after quintupling its numbers in the last decade, while India will account for 12% and the United State for 11%.
The latest report from the Education in Focus series highlights the strides emerging economies like China and India and other non-OECD nations have made in higher education since 2000.
By gradually shifting the focus from mass production jobs to knowledge-based work, the top developing nations have nearly caught up to developed nations in terms of college graduates.
"If this trend continues, the number of 25- to 34-year-olds from Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation, Saudia Arabia and South Africa with a higher education degree will be almost 40% higher than the number from all OECD countries by the year 2020," OECD press officer Spencer Wilson said Wednesday.
The United States, for example, has seen its share fall, from 17% in 2000 to 14% in 2010, and to the expected 11% in 2020.
OECD also found that between 1998 and 2008, employment in science and technology grew at a higher rate in both developed and developing nations than total employment.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012