More than 1,300 persons graduated from the University of Guyana (UG) Turkeyen Campus. And this weekend will see a few hundred more get their diplomas and degrees from the Berbice Campus. But are there jobs in our economy today for the more than 1,500 university graduates that will be churned out this month by the nation’s premier tertiary institution?
It is a known fact that hundreds of secondary school students who write the CXC Exams and gain numerous Grade Ones and Distinctions have a hard time finding jobs. Every year, the Government announces that the economy is growing, and newer businesses are being created. But can the job market satisfy the hundreds of university graduates who spend their hard earned monies, time and skills studying for up to four years for their degrees?
Academic and former Director of the University of Guyana Berbice Campus (UGBC), Professor Daizal R. Samad, believes that the jobs are there, but he questioned the suitability to the graduates.
Samad stated that the jobs reside in places like, “obviously the private sector, the government, the social public sector as well as in teaching.”
“What we find happening is that people graduating in things like Accountancy find themselves in classrooms teaching. You don’t want to be there, so we have implications of that. It’s a difficult situation, which is why UG needs to look at what are the national needs and guide students towards degree programmes that will fulfill those needs.”
He believes this is the way to go.
The professor added, “We are churning out social workers, for instance, but whilst we are churning them out, there is a rise in domestic violence and child abuse and suicides, which will make us question the effectiveness of these graduates in doing the things they ought to be doing. Where is soiled publishing research? Where is the data gathering?”
“It’s a very complex business. Where we are failing is that we are not working in concert with each other—UG by itself, Ministry of Education by itself…We are not pulling it all together and see it as one national enterprise and until we do that we will be fragmented.”
Government Member of Parliament, Mr. Faizal M. Jaffarally, while congratulating the new graduates, stated that “It demonstrates that UG has been serving its purpose of providing higher education to the nation’s youth.”
The Member of Parliament added that when one opens the newspaper on any given day, “you will recognize the tremendous vacancies for various skills…both at senior and junior management levels.” What seems to be a problem, though, is that young people do not want to move from the areas they live to where the jobs are available.
“I think job creation has to be collective effort of all the stakeholders.” He stated, too, that he was disappointed that despite the efforts of government in having these macro programmes coming on stream, “which could create hundreds perhaps thousands of jobs for young people, by the stroke of one vote in parliament, we see that opportunity being destroyed by the opposition.”
Alliance for Change (AFC) Member of Parliament, Dr. Veerasammy Ramayya said that there will hardly be jobs for the 1,700 UG Graduates.
Dr. Ramayya opined that 99 per cent of high school graduates “are home.” “Even some boys with good grades, are working in the estates,” he stated.
“The Marriot Hotel, the [Cheddi Jagan International] airport [project], [and] a lot of Chinese people [are] coming in and infiltrating our job industry. A lot of questions can be asked… in Region Six in particular if there is any decentralization of power with the Ministries…so there is no decentralization and this is taking away jobs from people in the country areas.”
“[In] the teaching profession, we have unqualified people teaching. We can’t just discredit the government for anything. Basically, government jobs are very limited and for those people who are not ‘with’ the government…show me a card and you will get a job.”
President of the Berbice Chambers of Commerce, Mr. Mark Roopnarine, said that there may not be new openings for the new graduates, “but I’m sure that [with] the earnings that they acquire in University, some of them will go back to the jobs that they are in already and that’s going to help them to build that organization that they are in and build their own capacity to function.”
“There are job openings available. There may not be what they [the graduates] expect, but graduates need to know that they have possessed already over 50 per cent of the ability to move up in any organization.”
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