Jobs for graduates
The Government has acted prudently in addressing the issue of
unemployed graduates without allowing the matter to get out of
hand. According to our lead story yesterday, the Government has
decided to provide employment to 17,000 unemployed graduates.
They are to be given placements as teachers of fine arts and
also employed as Janabala Lekams, coordinating and overseeing
development plans at village level - the latter a concept under
the Mahinda Chintana.
These graduates had been agitating for some time now staging
various protests and even death fasts trying to draw the
attention of the Government to their plight. And as is the norm
various political parties were attempting to exploit the
situation to obtain mileage at a crucial time when elections are
around the corner. Now that the Government had addressed the
matter satisfactorily the question to be asked is how much
longer is it going to be the provider of employment to the
armies of graduates passing out each year.
This no doubt is going to be a recurring problem. What is it
going to do with the next batch of graduates? Are we going to
witness similar protests and agitations by graduates demanding
Government jobs at every turn. This is an issue which the
Government would do well to address seriously so that it would
not have to take upon the role of a job agency for graduates. A
system has to be devised to enable graduates secure employment
without depending on the State.
Whatever has happened to the much advertised program of State
collaboration with the private sector in the matter of providing
jobs to graduates? Is this scheme still in existence? If so why
are there still unemployed graduates clamouring for Government
jobs? Of course the State cannot expect the private sector to
take upon this burden to any degree. For starters, the mandarins
in the corporate sector are hard nosed businessmen who will not
pick up the tab for unproductive labour.
We say this because going by the type of employment these
graduates have been offered so far under all Governments they
just do not fit into the scheme of things in the private sector.
For another it is moot that private sector employers would be
inclined to hire graduates from the local University system
given their proneness to agitation.
One cannot also imagine the private sector firms employing
misfits in terms of employability just to please the Government.
It is interesting to ascertain how many graduates have been
recruited to the private sector under the private sector
oriented job training programs over the years.
Of course it is unfair to expect these entrepreneurs who are
driven by profit to have deadwood in their employees just to
please the Government. They expect value for money and this
sadly our graduates are not equipped to provide. This is where
the Government has to play a much bigger role in providing the
avenues to enable these graduates to fit into the employment
We see the Government has realised this requirement. The
setting up the first College of ICT education in Sri Lanka would
now enable youth to be IT savvy and be in the market for private
sector demands. Similarly the University curricula too should
undergo a radical change so that the graduates would not have to
depend on the Government for State sector jobs.
This way this segment of our educated youth would be invested
with the sense of dignity knowing that their skills are in
demand. Today most of these graduates end up in unproductive
jobs in Government offices passing the time in redundancy while
their intellectual capacities are geared for better deeds but
utilised to their true potential. This is waste of their future
not to mention the drain on the their coffers to afford them
The Government therefore should take it upon itself the task
of creating graduates who are capable of meeting the modern day
demands of the labour market particularly at a time when it is
in need of all the skills and expertise it could command for the
gigantic post-war development tasks ahead. It should also
reassess its graduate training programs in collaboration with
the private sector to turn out skilled products who would fit
into any working milieu. The private sector after all has
received enough and more incentives from the Government from
time to time. It is a small price to pay to accommodate a few
hundred graduates into its fold.