The education level across the board seems to be in steady decline here as well (Canada). It was, at one time too, my opinion that the training was the problem, but every so often there has been amazing people come through it as well. Thinking back to when I was in University, there were plenty of 1/2 quality people then too. And to be fair, we had a lot less to work with back then.
Now that I hire people, I'm looking for those 'gems', which tend to be rare. Then there are the 'experienced' people that don't have the current skills required to do the demanded work, and many have the attitude that they do not have things to learn, or are not going to bother. And they still expect top dollar. Then there are the young ones who don't have a clue and think they do. And expect 'roll-your-eyes' top dollar.
This brings me to a different but effectively similar conclusion:
1) The education system has always been mediocre, so when you are looking, it shows
2) Society has shifted toward people feeling more entitled than ever... Maybe it skipped a generation. Yes, that's actually it.
3) My perspective has changed, therefore scrutinizing others' abilities to a degree I've never done before. (This is major)
Since there are more people now (physical numbers, not ratio) that can't/won't do anything worth while, it is both daunting and depressing.
To touch on the idea that classes "lower the level of difficulty" is probably true in a way. I've heard that parents confront university and college professors regularly about their child's performance in classes and demand higher grades from them for their adult children. This is anecdotal evidence, but it would be interesting to find out if this is common-place. I can't imagine my parents becoming involved in my incompetence at that age... but, perhaps that's another story.
I think that it would be a better education system where students are permitted to enter and continue based on merit, not money. It is increasingly the other way around, it seems.