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Sri Lanka blames universities for chronic graduate unemployment

Sri Lanka's Ministry of Higher Education has brought in new measures to make universities responsible for ensuring their graduates can be 'guaranteed' to get jobs anywhere in the world.

See report here.

“If they cannot accomplish this what is the use of having such universities?" Secretary to the ministry Sunil Jayantha Navaratne argues.

Needing to spell out the obvious, Dinidu Hennayake, convenor of the Joint Union of Unemployed Graduates, says:

"Nowhere in the world has a university's academic staff been held responsible for its graduates being unemployed. We see this as a move to palm off the blame to university administration. The government can now say they are no longer responsible."

The problem? Sri Lanka’s governments make outlandish pledges of graduates jobs, but the country’s economy cannot produce them. As Hennayake points out,

"[President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s] 2005 election manifesto promised that 10,000 unemployed graduates would be given jobs under the Tharuna Aruna (Dawn for Youth) programme while also taking measures to fill 23,000 vacancies in the public sector.

"As they failed to honour their promises, by 2011 the number of unemployed graduates has increased to 36,000."

 

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