More graduates, but more unemployment: why?

Published May 21, 2022


Durban - Fixing education needs fundamental change

Hendrick Makaneta tackles the related problems of our education system and the high unemployment rate on Page 8 of today’s Insider.

While our universities and colleges push out more graduates with degrees and diplomas than ever in our history, the unemployed queues continue to grow. Why is that?

Is the job market sceptical of the quality of the graduates? Is it perhaps more likely to hire graduates from certain universities and colleges than others?

I agree with Makaneta that the problem has its genesis much earlier ‒ in school, in primary school to be precise, and the Basic Education Department's policy of “progressing” pupils.

This euphemism advances pupils to the next grade even if they fail the previous grade.

With the number of pupils in classes already at unmanageable levels, it creates space for the incoming cohort ‒ no seats for laggards here.

This solves the department’s space problem, but does nothing for the affected pupil, who, armed with a lack of knowledge from the previous grade, must now contend with the next.

And so continues the cycle to high school and matric, where 30% and 40% passes are sufficient to enter university and college and, again, ensure space is available for the next lot.

Is it any wonder that graduates do not have the nous to create jobs for themselves and swell the ranks of the unemployed?

Fixing the system requires fundamental change at the very basic level.

The Independent on Saturday