WINDHOEK - The Popular Democratic Movement Youth League (PDMYL) has noted with grieve concern the increasing graduate unemployment rate. According to the PDM Youth League spokesperson, Maximalliant Katjimune, it is now much more difficult for a university graduate to find employment than at any time in the country’s history.
In a statement issued yesterday, Katjimune charged that an increase in unemployed graduates is caused by three main factors, namely failure by government in putting innovative, graduate friendly policies in place, lack of entrepreneurial education and support from both government and institutions of higher learning and the fact that universities continue to admit students in redundant and overcrowded fields of study.
“The government has indeed failed to put in place policies that correlate with our fast advancing 21st century economies. The job market has changed immensely since independence. Our job market is changing daily, and we have to equally respond to those changes by having proactive and graduate friendly policies. For example, it is totally unacceptable that companies always have”experience” criteria even for low entry jobs such as clerks or receptionists. Furthermore, government and the private sector must make the environment more friendly for fresh graduates by prioritising them for vacancies, especially entry level vacancies,” read Katjimune’s statement.
He added that government and the private sector should work towards creating an environment that is more business friendly for graduates. “Most of our graduates are poor, black students who do not have any generational wealth or start-up capital like their white counterparts. It is therefore imperative that the government levels the playing field by providing very low interest loans to our graduates, so that they venture into formal and informal sector businesses, which are imperative for any economy,” Katjimune continued.
He further charged that universities are also failing graduates, as there are a number of fields and courses which are already redundant and overcrowded, to a larger extend, in the job market.
“However, universities have blatantly ignored statistics and continue to enrol students en masse. The fields of Human Resources, Accounting, Economics, Management, Law and some courses in the humanities like Psychology are grossly redundant and overcrowded in the job market. PDMYL is of the opinion that universities should reconsider their enrolment rate in some of these courses and must constantly be in consultation with relevant stakeholders in the job market to stay on the track on what the market demands,” he concluded. It is estimated that Namibia has 67 000 unemployed graduates hoping to get a job in their field of study. This was revealed earlier this year by the Deputy Director in the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Nhlanhla Lupahla, during a public dialogue on perspectives of unemployed graduates.
The majority of these graduates are the youth who have been described as active and full of energy to participate in the labour market.