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14 November, 2021 09:25:24 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 November, 2021 09:27:14 PM
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Enhance employability skills of graduates

Actually, employability skills of the graduates are expected to grow through the education they receive from universities and colleges. These skills refer to a set of competencies, such as communication, teamwork and leadership skills
Alaul Alam
Enhance employability skills of graduates

Undeniably, the purpose of education is to make an individual fit for survival on earth. Education is supposed to make every individual understand the ways of living and livelihood in a far better way than those illiterate. It is the most precious thing for a person. But education without pragmatic outcomes hardly contributes to the individuals who receive it and the society around them.
Certainly, we are in the era of education revolution. In our country from primary to tertiary level the number of students receiving education has increased significantly over the years. Like secondary and higher secondary education higher education has been widely accessible to the people of all strata. Over the years the number of graduates has increased manifolds in the country.
Once public universities were the only means in receiving tertiary education but these days apart from public universities, private universities and colleges affiliated under national university are producing graduates. But the question is: has education equipped the graduates with skills that we look for into them? How far education helps the individuals to get employability skills? In many cases graduate students fail to achieve employability skills even after completing their education.
So, what will we do huge graduates with no employability skills? Many may ask: are achieving employability skills the ultimate goal of education? Obviously, in most cases the individuals expect that education should reshape their life and livelihoods.
Actually, employability skills of the graduates are expected to grow through the education they receive from universities and colleges. These skills refer to a set of competencies, such as communication, teamwork and leadership skills. Studies have revealed that most of the graduates lack English skills and there are many who have poor knowledge on ICT though English and ICT education have been compulsory at all level of education in the country to develop the learners’ soft skills.
On top of that, theory-based education along with teacher-centric classroom approaches encourages the learners to memorize what are important topics for the examination. The knowledge the students receive is merely confined to text books and the students hardly have any scopes to use their knowledge in the practical life.
Many claim that lack of innovations in the curriculum frustrate students to earn their future employability skills. It is very unfortunate that outcome-based education has not been yet introduced at tertiary level of education although it was introduced in many countries of the world years back. However, the UGC has directed all the universities to ensure outcome- based education in a bid to make the generation competitive for the global job market.
As the graduates lack skills required to be employable, the unemployment rate in the country has increased drastically among the educated youths. Different sources estimate that more than one-third of the total youth labour force in Bangladesh with higher education is unemployed. Again, it is obvious that merely producing a huge number of graduates and post graduates is barely enough unless they turn into skilled manpower. There is a gap prevailing between education and employability. The existing education gives priority to the generalization of education which hardly addresses to equip students with skilled-based knowledge. In many cases the courses designed to develop the students’ skills focus more on theoretical knowledge.
Our universities are severely criticized that they have failed to produce graduates with employability skills worthy for job market. But the question is why our education system is not working to mitigate unemployment though it is universally acknowledged that education creates empowerment and skilled manpower.
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.
Experts believe that there is a huge mismatch between the quality the graduates have and the standard eligibility the authority seeks for to hire the employees. Usually, we have much allegations that our job sectors are not enough open to provide employment opportunities for the graduates. But many national and multinational companies have the opposite view. They claim that in many cases they see the shortage of the qualified job seekers. At present many foreigners have been recruited in different economic sectors in Bangladesh as the nationals of the country cannot meet the criteria set by the employers.
Things are so frustrating for the students completing graduation from Madrasah. They face 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 has in many developed and developing countries.
Again, the recent research findings have revealed that National University has failed to produce quality graduates for the job market. The survey claimed that 66 per cent of the National University graduates were unemployed and the future prospect of NU graduates in the country’s job market was bleak. The reasons are many why NU students in most cases remain unemployed.
It was found that most colleges under the university do not follow their responsibilities in regard to enroll and guide students in an organized way and hardly have their any initiatives to develop the learners’ skills. However, thousands of students are becoming graduates every year but due to their lack of employability skills they go unemployed and in many cases there is great number of students completing education from NU have hardly access to private education as their subjects do not match with the criteria set by private sector employers. On top of that, public universities are opening many new subjects which can hardly address the demand of making students into resources.
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.
To this end, it is clearly stated that there is no alternative to introducing outcome-based curriculum that will equip students with employability skills what the employers look for into the employees. Along with this, universities should maintain a continuous relationship with the graduate hiring companies. Again, they should offer job oriented courses and skill-based trainings to the students. Teachers of all universities should concentrate on developing generic skills of their students apart from providing subject-based knowledge. They should also help the students teach how they can relate their knowledge in the practical purposes.
It is really appreciative that the present Government of Bangladesh has taken many initiatives to ensure quality higher education. The Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP) and some other wings are working to improve the quality of higher education in collaboration with the World Bank to make the graduates equipped with employability skills which are pivotal for sustainable development of the country.

The writer teaches at Prime University. He is also a research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]

 

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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