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Opinion - The agony of unemployed graduates 

2021-11-26  Staff Reporter

Opinion - The agony of unemployed graduates 
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Unemployment has become one of the most deep-rooted millennial problem facing Namibia effectuated by a one-size-fits-all education system that does not help graduates with employability or entrepreneurial skills. Namibian graduates seem to have entered a ‘one chance’ scenario, as no escape light is blinking at the end of the tunnel of no return, especially for those without associates. It is also becoming clearer that obtaining a tertiary qualification does not guarantee any meaningful employment unless one has a connection with someone in a position of power. 

The rate and vigour with which corruption in its different forms has invaded every facet of Namibian institutions is no longer news to many Namibians and seems to have become part of the genetic composition of most Namibians if not all. These days getting a job is becoming tough especially for those without any affinity in terms of genealogy, inner circle or patronage to those in power. 

Lack of networks and connections especially for graduates from families lacking significant social capital and patronage systems are putting the graduates at a tremendous disadvantage for new job opportunities. Those in power are gradually retreating to their villages or inner circles and are seeing the universe through the prism of their genealogy, commonalities or coteries. Surnames of applicants are at times looked at when shortlisting candidates for an interview defeating the slogan of “One Namibia, One Nation” or the recent Harambee shibboleth “No one should be left out”. 

It is popular knowledge that ascription and nepotism permeate job placement in both the private and public sectors. In the labour market today, employment is sparsely based on merit but on less honourable traits of nepotism and favouritism. These, of course, have denied well qualified, determined and energetic Namibians of employment. You have to know somebody before one can get a job. Those that don`t know anybody are automatically hopeless. As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” For the fortunate ones who by the grace of God is shortlisted and called for an interview, experience further heartbreak as favoured candidates are preselected before the actual process. The interview is only used as a formality to blind the public to believe that due process was followed. It is worth noting that before interviews those in authority had their own personal agendas in which they already have their interest and use their positions to manipulate the process for their benefit and the benefit of the other ones. Although the intentions of conducting interviews were good, those in authority are abusing it and it is worsening the situation whereby those with allies and at times cronies and nepos have an advantage.

In the public sector, for instance, the most suitable candidate fails to get a post, and the public as a whole suffer as a consequence not to mention the person who, had there been no acquaintances, would have won the position. It must be pointed out that those in privileged positions of power are the ones frustrating the graduates/youths of this country through employing wicked strategies. I make a clarion call to all individuals and agencies capable and responsible for looking into matters such as these to come to the rescue of those without associates. It is high time that iniquitous practices be reported as the inability to articulate one`s experience to speak out to the authorities is an act of timidity. Evil thrives when moral rectitude men fail to speak up.

Finally, it is vital that the government and other agencies implement blind recruitment by hiding demographic information (to reduce recruiting only applicants from one commonalty) and scrapping years of experience (especially entry level post to give chance to graduates) as selection requirements. 

2021-11-26  Staff Reporter

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