Around the world, governments and businesses face a conundrum: high levels of youth unemployment and a shortage of job seekers with critical skills. How can a country successfully move its young people from education to employment? What are the challenges? Which interventions work? How can these be scaled up? These are the crucial questions.
In 2010, it was reported that 30,000 graduates could not find employment six months after graduation. Malaysia’s world class education system appears to have produced unemployable graduates.
Graduates emerging from the Malaysian education system fail to meet the expectations of prospective employers due to a lack of critical thinking skills and poor communication. This has resulted in employers having to provide additional training to fit them into their respective job scopes.
The reason for the lack of confidence evident in young graduates is that educational institutions are not placing enough focus on equipping undergraduates with skills that will enable them to think out of the box and adapt to the demands of the working world.There should be a sound foundation in critical thinking to be incorporated into the education system to prepare future generations for the employment market.
To address the graduate unemployment crisis will require action by the goverment and graduate themselves. However, in existing education and employment systems there is little incentive for employers and universities to reach into each other wand engage in the type of collaboration needed to help graduate succeed.
Trans-formative solutions must involve government, educators, and employers working together to solve the skill gap at a sector level. Government must play an important role as a convener and initiator of these sector-wide collaborations.
We need an education system that is inclusive, does not neglect academically-struggling yet vocationally-advantaged pupils, matches industry requirements, yet streams students into disciplines where they will excel most.