Jul 27, 2016 News
Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Eddie Boyer, in an interview with Kaieteur News, acknowledged that there are several reasons why tertiary educated Guyanese are migrating. However, he agreed that one such reason for the phenomenon is due to the existence of a mismatch between the skills persons have and the available jobs in the market.
Boyer respected the fact that persons cannot be forced into pursuing a particular career; nonetheless, he does believe that the University of Guyana should offer programmes which suit the local economy. He said that the Private Sector Commission (PSC) is willing to work with the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Ivelaw Griffith, in this regard.
Moreover, Boyer is of the belief that more needs to be done by alumni of UG to give back so as to develop the institution. He said that he recognizes the contributions of some past students, but is of the opinion that if members of the diaspora and business community actively participate in developing the university, it can improve its capacity, thereby offering more and better quality programmes.
He identified the Agriculture sector as being big business and suggests that more is done to enhance the programme. Further, he said that the University needs to step up its Information Technology Department.
Boyer said that the PSC has done research on the issue regarding migrating professionals. He said there are many pull factors responsible for the movement away from Guyana. He pointed out that in an economy such as Guyana’s there will always be people looking for greener pastures.
He said too that the private sector has absorbed quite a number of people from UG. He emphasized that in most cases these persons begin working and after a short stint they migrate. In most cases, according to Boyer, persons are not interested in building a career, and it is a challenge which private companies face.
Some companies offer an apprenticeship programme for staff, in which they are trained on how to perform their tasks. According to Boyer, as an employer it is tough having to raise the salary of staff members who stay for the duration of the apprenticeship then to move onto another job or to reside abroad. He said that this requires companies to continue training new staff that may or may not stay on the job.
Recently, Minister of Education Rupert Roopnaraine expressed similar sentiments to Boyer’s, whereby he recognized the need for a collaborative approach to fixing the skills mismatch which continues to affect Guyana. He said that the issue is not purely ministerial but needs the input from all stakeholders – the government, education institutions and the private sector.
While acknowledging too that there are many reasons why persons leave Guyana, Roopnaraine described the situation as a national tragedy – for a nation’s educated citizens migrating to other countries to seek employment. He recognized that there needs to be input from all stakeholders, inclusive of the Government, educational institutions and private sector representatives.
Back in 2013, the International Monetary Fund’s Article IV Consultation on Guyana reported that Guyana is suffering from a skills mismatch due to the pace of change in the Guyanese economy and the adjustment by the education system.
The report said that “Improving labour productivity is key for job creation in the private sector”. It was recognized that there needs to be structural reforms in the areas of investment in human capital, improvements in healthcare, and enhancements to the technical and vocational education and training.
It was announced recently that Guyana continues to lose a large number of its tertiary educated nationals. Several reasons have been presented to explain why 93% of persons leaving the country are tertiary educated. Several reasons have been put forward to explain this phenomenon. Some are that persons are seeking better remuneration, working conditions and jobs which are in line with person’s particular field of study.
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