Unemployment is an issue in most of the countries, developing or developed. ‘Graduate Unemployment’ is perhaps a burning issue unique to Sri Lanka. Many, not just the unemployed graduates, think we should treat that issue with utmost importance. Ethnic issue or inflation can wait, but not graduate employment.
Any idea why the issue assumes such a high priority?
Frankly, if I were to take a choice I will always give priority to the issue of ‘Non-Graduate Unemployment’. These are my reasons.
o Numbers: The number of unemployed non-graduates is about 25 times more than the number of unemployed graduates.
o Theoretically it is easy for a graduate to find a job. We should help the weaker, not the stronger. (This argument might not be valid always. One observer noted the more we ‘educate’ students the more we make then unemployable)
o Since university education is free, state (and the society) had already spent enough making an individual a graduate. (a minimum of Rs. 500,000) So it is fair to focus on the group that had not received that privilege.
In spite of these logical and sensible reasons, there are enough people in our society who entertain romantic ideas towards the issue of unemployed graduates. Perhaps it is empathy. Perhaps we assume (incorrectly) that we as a society have an obligation to provide jobs to the educated sections. Whatever it is, the manner we have reacted is questionable.
‘Rata Perata’ Govt, few months after assigning the office provided jobs for more than 40,000 graduates. Never mind Sri Lanka has a huge government which is already overcrowded. Never mind that Sri Lanka spends 54 cents from every tax rupee it earns to pay salaries and pension to government servants. Never mind we do not need that many officers in government. Never mind we printed money to pay them and inflation hit the ceiling. We have solved the issues of the ‘Graduate Unemployment’.
Finally, have you ever observed these interesting phenomena about ‘Graduate Unemployment’?
- It is always the unemployed graduates who conduct protests marches and demands the job from the government. (as if there is no unemployment problem among non-graduates)
- Even among graduates it is only graduates from local universities who face this issue. (Foreign graduates, who study parallel subjects never face this burning issue)
- Private sector, the biggest employer does not want even to touch more of the unemployed graduates with a barge pole. However, private sector do not have this problem with unemployed non-graduates.
- JVP is a political party who strongly back unemployed graduates. JVP is also a political party strongly advocate war. However JVP never try to settle the issue by urging unemployed graduates to join forces. (so they can kill two birds with two stones) Looks like JVP and unemployed graduates do not find working for security forces as ‘employment’.
(This is the view point of a guest writer. Open for discussion)