Reasons for Unemployment Among Graduates
Malaysian universities are not producing “work-ready” graduates because the country’s education system is too exam-oriented (Fong 2004; Henwood 2007). They produce graduates who are competent theory-wise but have no sufficient practical exposure. Finally, another common relevant reason is related to the mismatch between what the universities are producing and what the Malaysian job-market seeks (Asma and Lim, 2000; Yogeeswaran, 2005; Vijan, 2007). Finally, This unemployment dilemma might also be the result of the nature of computer science where skills are always changing and dynamic or, as Hesketh (2000) terms, as ‘converging’.
This phenomenon has caused a commotion in Malaysia where local society is starting to accept that there is no guarantee of employment after a degree. This has made graduates automatically enroll themselves for postgraduate programmes; parents become more concerned about the courses their children are signing up for – or is it their children’s’ employment at the end of the study period – and educators no longer stress educational excellence only but have started to recognize that skills need to be taught.
Reacting to the problem, the Malaysian Government has taken crucial steps to face this problem. Examples of three such steps taken by the Government are the training scheme for unemployed graduates, teaching more subjects in English at school level, and the introduction of the Electronic Labour Exchange System (ELX) which are detailed below: 1 The training scheme for unemployed graduates: The objective of the Graduate Training Scheme 2005 is to assist and equip unemployed graduates with specialised skills to enhance employability, including English Language.
It is targeted at degree or diploma graduates from 2002 onwards. The Government sponsors the programme fee, which is a generous monthly allowance of RM500. 2 More subjects at school level taught in English. : In 2002, the Government announced that from 2003 onwards, the teaching of Science and Mathematics would be carried out in English, in order to ensure that Malaysia will not be left behind in a world that was rapidly becoming globalised. In addition, this programme aims to arrest the declining command of the language among students.
All public universities were urged to change the medium of instruction from Malay to English in science and technology subjects in 2005. 3 The Electronic Labour Exchange (ELX) project: This project was officially launched by the Minister of Human Resources, Datuk Dr. Fong Chan Onn on 30 May 2006. It acts as a one-stop centre for labour market information, and is accessible to government agencies, the private sector and the general public. The Job Clearing System offers free-of-charge job matching services for the Malaysian public and employers.
The Government hopes that the objectives of improving the mobilisation of the nation’s human resources and optimising the utilisation of manpower through the systematic matching of job seekers to job vacancies can be achieved. Finally, the Prime Minister’s Department in the Economic Planning Unit FAQ webpage states the short and long term measures implemented by the government on the issue of unemployed graduates in the country as the following: i) Review the curriculum of the university to ensure graduates are equipped with skills and knowledge required by the industry and employers.
In this regard, soft skill subjects such as communication, problem-solving and language skills especially English, have been introduced. The usage of English as learning and teaching medium was also strengthened. ii) Double major subjects will also be introduced to ensure graduates possess broader knowledge. iii) Introduce Entrepreneurship Programmes to encourage graduates to be self-employed. iv) Conduct studies and findings of the studies will be used as inputs for government in formulating comprehensive policies and programmes.