EMPLOYEMENT AFTER GRADUATION DISCUSSED AT THE DUT
By: Dale Munatswa
Great minds converged at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), yesterday to tackle the burning issue of employment of students who graduate from tertiary school.
The event organised by Charmaine Kujinga and other peer interns at DUT, saw professor O. Olugbara, from the Department of Information Services, Professor Sipho R. Shabalala, former head of research in the KwaZulu-Natal premier’s office and Daven Reddy from Invotech, come together to discuss the causes of unemployment of young people who graduate from tertiary institutions.
Professor Shabalala threw a number of questions to the floor as a means of identifying the source of the problem, as well as possible solutions in general. He highlighted that the issue was a kind of a problem referred to as a messy or wicked problem, meaning a problem that has many other problems related and contributing to its existence.
In efforts to find the source of the problem, Professor Shabalala explained that there exists a system of supply and demand, in which case the suppliers are the tertiary institutions, and demand comes from employers. When universities are evaluated, they are not evaluated on the basis of students that are employed in the industries, from a particular university, but on the basis of graduates that they produce. In which case they would have done their job, and cannot be held responsible.
Professor Shabalala also explained that, when companies are evaluated they are not evaluated on the basis of the number of workers they employ, but rather the amount of profits they produce.
“So who is responsible for your employment?” Professor Shabalala asked.
Professor Shabalala also explained the dysfunction of sequential interdependence in the system. There ought to be a system in which tertiary institutions communicate with industries in order to know the number of particular workers required in the industry at a given time. This will assure that when those students graduate, they go into industry, he clarified.
Professor Olugbara took upon some of the questions that were asked by Professor Shabalala. He challenged institutions not to produce workers but entrepreneurs. He explained that the problem associated with the effort is that teachers train students to pass from one level of school to another, not from one level to do things.
“We should train students to be entrepreneurs not look for jobs” he said.
He added that universities are meant to build an individual to develop society, hence that individual should be regarded as a resource, not a liability.
Students from various faculties, who attended the event displayed their keenness to see where the problem develops and have it solved by participating in the discussion and directing questions to the professors.
Chido Thomas, a hospitality student said, “I learnt that we as students we believe that for one to be employed they ought to have a connection in the desired company and yet there are many reasons why the unemployment ratio for the qualified students is still high.”