Are we making employable graduates?

As we are at the latter part of this discussion I feel that we need to address this question. I will share one of the experience i have. there are many degree program here which has not been updated to suit the glocal demand which make unemployment as well as lack of people who suit for available jobs. Isn’t it the responsibility of the universities and degree awarding bodies together with authorities to understand the ongoing demand and produce graduated to cater that?

That’s exactly what we had been analyzing. Remember we extensively discussed strengths and weaknesses of current education systems, and many of the posts point to your question.

Most education systems need overhaul. Many curricula are no longer relevant but institutions are still graduating large numbers of people based on those curricula. Science laboratories and engineering workshops are still found with obsolete equipment where there are still equipment. I once was given in my office a computer science graduate who couldn’t set up a computer allocated to her for work. She was unable to identify a mouse and hadn’t seen a hard disk. It was one of our data entry operators (who learned computer operations through roadside training) who set up the computer scientist’s desktop. That’s a good illustration of what most education systems are like.

The computer science graduate I described (who was on mandatory one-year national youth service) was really unemployable. Wasn’t she? In a situation where such a person gets employed in a public service instead of a suitably qualified counterpart (which is commonplace in some places, owing to corruption and other biases) what impact do we see it’ll make on learning?

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I think that many of the skills that make one employable are (except in very specific areas) not subject specific. They include time-management, sense of responsibility, independence, resilience, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication etc.

These are often acquired without being specifically delivered, by creating an environment in which their acquisition is necessary. I don’t think explicitly trying to teach them is the way forward, myself. These sorts of attributes are developed when you encourage students to take ownership of their own learning, avoid too much spoonfeeding or teaching to the test, and generally treat them as adults.

I totally agree with you. But, to be independent and develop their personality related attitudes, ethics and qualities,do they have time? According to my experience the semesters are packed in a way that the poor student have no time to wait. I feel that make them helpless.

Excellent points, Cath. You’ve summarized all that we’d been hammering about instructional method. There are many skills necessary in the workplace and for being an entrepreneur which students are expected to acquire no matter their disciplines. These skills, some of which you listed, aren’t directly taught, but right method of teaching certainly offers opportunities for developing the skills. Pages 8 and 12 of this recently published article give some insights in this wise: Many students don’t acquire the expected skills because they’re taught with the popular, inappropriate teacher-centered method that denies them the opportunities to get the skills. Am I then right that by ‘environment’ you mean ‘learning activities’?

It’s also important that a student should develop expertise in their discipline. If not, why choose and spend years in one discipline and not the other?

:clap: Applause for bringing this up, Chinthaka. Congested curriculum is another bane of learners, which I elaborated in one forum in 2018. At times, congestion results from unplanned closure of an institution or institutions as a consequence of workers strike or students’ unrest or another emergency. In a situation where so much content is to be learned in so little a time, even the best teachers and methods can offer only little.

I am not sure, personally, that it is teacher-centred instruction that is so much the problem, as approaches such as spoon-feeding, teaching to the test and other methods that make it “too easy”.
Such approaches can reduce the need to think and apply, to synthesise information from different sources and so on. You can still teach in quite a traditional way but avoid those problems.

We also need to allow room for students to experience difficulties and to resolve them, and to make less than perfect decisions and learn from them. It’s hard, as an educator, to give students that space, but we must learn to.

Yes Cath. Unless we will output some graduates worth for nothing than theoretical (may be outdated) knowledge.