The question is as perturbing as it is befuddling. Day in day out graduation bells ring as streets, highways, pathways, subways and even water ways become colored with the flamboyant spectacles of graduates walking shoulders high quite oblivious of the impending reality ahead – unemployment.
Education systems have to grapple with bewildering tides against them. On one hand is the fact that they offer theoretical training that ill prepares graduates for the job market, while on the other hand they have to contend with scathing attacks over claims that there is a clear mismatch between the curriculum and the demands of the job market.
As if adding insult to injury, the prevailing economic down turn is fast ejecting ‘excess’ staff from blue chip companies as a cost cutting measure.
The woes of schools and colleges are far from over. What will come next?
Even as education policy makers burn the midnight oil trying to fix a myriad of issues that have been of concern over the decades, they seem to be rewarded with a backlash from the job market. Will their labour be futile after all? On Monday this week, there was news on the international media that UBS, a giant Swiss bank, was planning to axe 10,000 jobs worldwide as it slims down its investment activities. The jobs will go over the next 3 years and amount to 16% of its current work force of 64,000.
These thousands will certainly surge the unemployment index in the world as they complicate the chances of the fresh graduates getting jobs.
Here in our neighbourhood, Kenya Airways recently retrenched 500 staff members to ostensibly save up to $12 million in a year as result of the rising costs of operation orchestrated by rising fuel prices. The big question now is whether more training of personnel is justified especially when the job market cannot absorb the already suffocating unemployed numbers.
Different pundits have been of the opinion that entrepreneurship is the way to go to scale down the unemployment crisis. Well. It has worked very well especially in the Asian tigers like Malaysia and Singapore. However, as somebody once said, you cannot teach all animals how to swim!
There is a cross section of the population that is meant to be employed and retire employed. The current turn of events casts a dark shadow before them.
It is inevitable that solutions to unemployment that really work are desperately needed.
The US Republican party candidate Mitt Romney talked about creating 12 million new jobs a year for the American people. He knows how he will do it but the fact is that it will not be a walk in the park. It is meticulous.
The education systems with the support of governments should invest more on research that will give rise to more innovations that will create new areas of knowledge and jobs. Expansion of knowledge is key to stimulating economies and creation of more job opportunities.