MOST people who talk about post-genocide Rwanda are quick to point out the miserable number of graduates that the National University of Rwanda (NUR) in Huye has produced.
Today a lot has changed. The university is now churning out impressive numbers of graduates each year. Other institutions of higher learning such as the School of Finance and Banking (SFB), Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Kigali Institute of Education (K.I.E) and others are doing a good job of closing the huge skills gap in Rwanda.
This month has seen over 1000 students graduating from NUR and SFB. In a nutshell, these are another batch of skilled people who have joined the proverbial streets in search of employment.
However, the public and private sector are not ready to absorb all the graduates who want good jobs and decent wages.
More so, a good number of graduates are not ready for employment despite having passed exams and graduated with wonderful distinctions. The world outside demands more than what the university can offer.
A smart graduate is therefore not one who dressed smartly at their graduation party but one who suits the expectations of the job market—someone who possesses exceptional job skills.
I recall a time last year when President Paul Kagame met the students of NUR and pointed out that he had received complaints from employers concerning their quality. The president told the students to raise their performance standards since they have to compete with other East African citizens.
He reminded them that the once common requirement of job applicants to be Rwandan citizens was no longer holding for he was more interested in quality and not, nationality.
The president basically wants graduates to be more competitive if they are to survive in the wider East African Community.
Graduates should possess excellent ICT skills and be flexible towards learning new skills in order to fit in the prevailing work environment. Flexibility requires one to have the rare ability of unlearning old and useless attitudes.
Those with a French language background should make an effort to improve on their English language skills as well. It is still advantageous for graduates to be able to effectively use both English and French.
A working knowledge of Swahili will also come in handy considering that this is the lingua franca to more than 80 million people in the region.
The other important thing that fresh graduates need to know is that it is not a rule that after graduation they must look for a job. No!
Think outside the box and see whether you can create jobs. The bottom line is, it is time for graduates to prove their worth to the world.Follow https://twitter.com/ssojo81