Caravan of Unemployed Graduates Require Institutional Lift

In a country of such economic and demographic make-up such as Ethiopia’s, institutionalising of diverse activities is an essential catalyst to bring about accelerated prosperity and development. It is agreed by many that the education system, through its institutes, owes a lot to the successful trajectory of its graduates’ professional career.

Though not the focal issue on the table here, quality of education on which more has been said than done is too costly to ignore or underestimate its ramifications. Yet, defying the wishful thinking of an overnight game-changing venture, we all need to shoulder the burden of patience while pressing all stakeholders to responsibly and urgently discharge their respective duties.

The enthusiastic moments of graduation ceremonies and all the surrounding festivities are imminently and seriously overshadowed by the exasperation of getting jobs these days. Blurred prospects often dominate such times of happiness. In fact, the capacity of the economy, along with its administrative setup, is what is in the seat of power to define the rate of absorption of the ever-increasing upcoming human resources into productivity.

The education system and its institutes are done with their part once students graduate, and the free market for skilled workforce takes over these products. But comparing the enormous size of new graduates from every corner of the country and the rate of transition into professional careers, a desperately huge gap can be observed.

Taking due note of this signal, there seems to be a loud call for a supplementary setup that can create a more significant flow of this caravan of graduates to professional streams. As it is said that systems can outbid resources, it would be worthwhile to consider additional means of bridging the gap between graduation and employment, especially at undergraduate levels, and cater for a brighter future.

An institutionalised effort through a government agency – a sort of “Fresh Graduates Internship & Employment Agency” – having federal and regional bureaus could be an effective tool to manage and tackle this deficiency. It helps make assessments of need for new skilled labour in coordination with all stakeholders and stage a platform for fresh graduates to step smoothly into job opportunities.

This is not solely about their employment. Such an agency can facilitate short or long-term internship programs after graduation with the numerous governmental enterprises as well as with non-governmental and business entities throughout the country. It helps fresh graduates to get career exposure, at least as interns if not as employees.

They can thus open their eyes to see the professional world and begin to experience the outside environment and learn how to cope with challenges. There is a much higher possibility of working out their best career path by themselves after such exposures and a more comprehensive social and professional network shall also be availed to them.

With an integrated move by the suggested agency, even private businesses could be convinced to give internship opportunities. They would provide pocket money on a short-term basis with the likelihood of permanent employment for the good of both parties, should the interns perform satisfactorily.

The establishment of such an entity, or any formal and organised endeavour by the government, will buoy fresh graduates’ hopes of tapping into job opportunities. It could also have a powerfully appealing stature to international development partners and encourage them to offer additional resources for the effective implementation of the plan.

The gesture alone is likely to ignite greater stimulus among not only prospective graduates but also college beginners and even students at lower levels down the line. Fortunately, the country is at a time of influx of foreign direct investment (FDI) ushering a variety of daily labour or high skills job opportunities, which has its own share of lessening the pain of unemployment. It would be a plus if there is a condition that encourages them also to avail internship and employment opportunities for fresh graduates.

One thing never to be missed here is the fact that equipping students with job-creation rather than a job-seeking orientation, stands tall without equal whenever such issues are tabled. It is all an indication of how to go about it and yet there is a lot more to work out on how to effectively address the problem which requires the devotion of time and resources.

The suggested agency or any setup with similar objective may retire once the gap closes. The closure would come through a natural link between the educational and professional career due to the efficiency of the overall system in the country.

By Matewos Berhanu
Matewos Berhanu is a financial consultant who worked with First Consult. He can be reached at

Published on May 12,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 941]



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