See Higher education: Not what it used to be | The Economist
Modern mass education at third level has produced huge numbers of graduates and presumably competition among them for jobs has helped maintain education standards at least among a sizeable minority. This minority vastly outnumbers the majority of students a generation ago when few students attended university in most countries. Even if standards have dropped at undergraduate level,selectivity at post graduate level can compensate for this.
However,large numbers of students are being set a low bar or are not being challenged at all,going by trends in the USA as described in the above link:
-"...literacy of college educated citizens declined between 1992 and 2003.Only a quarter were considered proficient..."
-"Almost a third of students these days do not take any courses that involve more than 40 pages of reading over an entire term."
The head of the American Teachers Union said a generation ago that Americans were going to college to get the equivalent of a high school education a generation before. If he were around today,the 40 pages of reading statistic would prompt him to say that many Americans were going to college to get a grade school (ie primary) education.
That may not necessarily be a bad thing if students socialise actively and learn good social skills. Those skills are important in many jobs requiring customer relationships and teamwork. Surveys of employers show that hiring decisions usually are influenced by whether the job applicant can get along well with the people in the job.
That said,colleges should demand more than 40 pages of reading a term.