While our universities and colleges are churning out graduates by the tens of thousands, we are saddled with a serious problem: the number of unemployed graduates has doubled since 2008.
Why are we training so many graduates to meet the needs of industry when clearly industry can’t absorb them fast enough? According to an analysis in the Edge Daily, 12 per cent of graduates are unemployed as of 2009. And 60 per cent of the unemployed are graduates.
That’s 98000 unemployed graduates and 76000 unemployed diploma holders. Clearly the government has a problem here in meeting the expectations of graduates who expect to find white-collar or well-paying blue-collar jobs.
Now we hear that the duration of non-technical polytechnic diploma courses in commerce and hospitality will be shortened to two and half years from the current three to save time and costs. The government wants to create 1.5m skilled workers. And it is aiming to churn out 680000 diploma holders by 2020. (See NST report: ‘Polytechnic courses to be shortened by up to a year‘)
Or is the problem related to the quality of these graduates – a sad reflection of the state of our institutions of higher learning today?
How about teaching our students more useful living skills and showing them how to start their own small businesses to enable them to survive in today’s world? How about more colleges and training institutes that will teach relevant skills to enable diploma holders and graduates to be self-reliant and self-employed?