There goes a long debate that what is the purpose of education? Rationally the purpose is to enlighten individuals with necessary qualities suited to survive in this world. These qualities not only develop inner-self of an individual but also show the path to livelihoods.
It is true that over the years the number of graduate and post graduate degree holders in the country have increased tremendously. No doubt, it goes no denying that our socio- economic condition is creating a favorable scope to access to higher education.
But we cannot escape from the blatant criticism as the existing education system is unable to produce quality manpower in most cases due to the gap prevailing from education to employment.
Consequently, unemployment rate is more escalating among the educated youth than the ones uneducated or little educated. According to a latest Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) study, more than one-third of the total youth labor force in Bangladesh with higher education is unemployed. This curse is ongoing as every year more than 7 lakh fresh graduates come out of universities for competing with the existing others in the labor market.
This increased number of educated youths hardly have any job security, rather many more are denied to include in the mainstream of employment. So it is obvious that merely producing a huge number of graduates and post graduates is barely enough unless they turn into skilled manpower.
It is supposed that tertiary level of education is the final phase of education that helps make students fit for employment. School and college are the secondary parts which are indirectly involved in contributing to the final phase received at universities. But universities are blatantly criticized in regard to producing quality graduates worthy for job market.
The questions may be pertinent to ask. Why is our education system not working to mitigate unemployment though it is universally acknowledged that education creates empowerment and skilled manpower? Why are our universities unable to produce quality graduates? Is our education system an obstacle to developing quality manpower?
Truly, a substantial gap between the quality of fresh university graduates and the quality standard needed by the professional world is constantly widening which grows a long debate.
In most cases it is commonly found that universities are not worried at all regarding the employability of the graduates, rather they are busy with awarding degrees to their students and hardly maintain liaison with the outgoing students in regard to creating scopes for them.
Another concern is, except science faculties the traditional lecture-based education along with motivating students to memorization is still rampant. But to have the employable eligibility in the labor market theoretical and practical knowledge are the most important factors students should entail. Though our university scholars often blame that job opportunity is still scanty, what the job employers do not think so, rather they seem worried of the scanty of worthy candidates.
On top of that, students completing graduation from Madrasah education are facing discriminatory treatment in the job market, narrowing their scopes to access to job sector as in most cases their knowledge is confined to religion- based profession with hardly any learning to basic and soft skills required for mainstream job. Along with these, the tendency of receiving technical education has not been as flourished as it is in many developed and developing countries.
However, the existing job recruitment system may be responsible to some extent as a large number of people are not getting employment in accordance with their educational qualification and the fortunate ones entering to different job sectors have hardly any scopes in working with the subject knowledge studied at universities.
So it is time to review the issue of education to enhance employability. First of all, syllabuses and lecture modules upgradation in the light of job market have to be ensured at every tertiary institution. Secondly, courses should be offered considering the light of practical importance. Thirdly, universities should try to create a convenient environment for their alumni and find scopes for them. Fourthly, students’ enrollment in technical education should be encouraged.
Above all, there is no alternative to enhancing the quality of education with special focus on skills development. Need-based education should be incorporated in all levels of education to help students compete in the job market. Education budgetary allocation should be raised along with making students motivate to be self-reliant, not merely depending on official jobs. Raising private and foreign investment is a must to create scopes for new jobs.
In this way it is possible to bridge the gap standing from education to employment in a bid to develop the society with enlightenment and employment.
Alaul Alam: teaches at Prime University