Editorial: We need to fix the mismatch between education and the labour market

The latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda show that over the past one year the unemployment rate dropped slightly as more Rwandans participated in the labour market.

Specifically, the unemployment rate decreased by 3.5 percentage points from 17.8 in August 2017 to 14.3 per cent in August 2018.

To put this in perspective, the number of unemployed persons declined by an estimated 85,000 persons between August 2017 and August 2018.

This is desirable progress, especially given that it is being driven by industries in which the private sector is the major player.

However, the labour underutilisation, which includes unemployment and underemployment is still high. It stood at 58 per cent in August 2017 before easing to 57 per cent in February 2018 and to 53 per cent in August 2018.

The labour underutilisation rate is higher among females compared to males.

There’s also another salient puzzle that needs fresh attention of all stakeholders.

As graduates complain about the limited access to employment opportunities, their potential employers decry the prevailing absence of skilled personnel, which sometimes forces them to look elsewhere in the region or internationally for quality workers.

Employers in the private sector continue to cite the mismatch between the skills most graduates can offer and the skills which are in demand on the labour market.

This is a clear reflection of the absence or limited collaboration between the educationists and the private sector.

Therefore, universities and other institutions of higher learning should engage the private sector and other potential employers to align their courses with the skills needed on the labour market. This will help our young graduates to access jobs easily.

We understand that this too can be quite costly in terms of facilitating research and implementing new courses.

That's why the private sector should actively participate in financing some of the programmes in universities and other training centres if they are to get decent workers locally.

In addition, public and private institutions should also have a firm focus on skills development through in-house trainings.

That’s why the private sector should actively participate in financing some of the programmes in universities and other training centres if they are to get decent workers locally.

In addition, public and private institutions should also have a firm focus on skills development through in-house trainings.

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