This week I want to pose a pertinent question: Where will fresh graduates get job-market experience? The trends in the labor market are so worrying even to an extent of throwing the whole essence of education and training into the culvert.
A look at the job entry requirements leaves one wondering whether the billons of money the world governments spend on education are a shadowboxing endeavor. Why the heavy expenditure, to the tune of 40 percent of the ex-chequer, when the job market cannot absorb graduates from school.
It would be absurd of me as an educationalist to make people think that the sole role of education is to supply the economy with a labor force. However, this was true in the early years of independence of many nations that bore the brunt of the colonial iron fist for several years.
In the contemporary postcolonial society, people are going to school in order to get enlightened and gain skills that are vital for survival in the technological era. Indeed, as many as have been educated, live better lives independent of the fact that they are economically well to do or not.
On the other hand, when one spends years in school and finds himself unable to put food on the table and for years, maneuvers in the increasingly hardening economic times, the role of schooling is put to test.
When you graduate with a First Class Honors or Second Class Honors degree, it is no doubt that you have had to burn midnight oil to achieve that. The doctors and professors at Universities must also have been sufficiently satisfied with your academic performance.
The jubilation of the congratulatory messages and the flambouyant degree award ceremonies is then met with the acrimony of the ‘unrealistic’ labor market demands. Phrases like ‘five years experience’ or worse still, ‘10 years experience’ pours cold water on the hot coal of a job-seekers juvenile enthusiasm and dashes all hopes of a bright future.
If the graduates are not competent enough, then the authorities responsible for quality assurance at various education levels should be called to answer.
Let all employers employ fresh graduates and train them. On-job experiences can be gained through more graduate trainees’ programmes. Take an example of when, a first-time driver turned the ignition of car; when they started driving, they had zero experience, but after six months and several years down the road, they have more experience now. Put in mind that someone guided the new driver throughout their lesson until they gained a permit.
The current economic times are harder. The living costs have gone higher than usual. Some countries like Greece are looking up to the EU for bail out. Who will bail out fresh graduates? Who will alleviate suffering and disillusionment?