‘SL only country in the world to have unemployed graduates’
Sri Lanka is the only country in the world where there are no employment opportunities for graduates, said Past President Organization of Professional Associations (OPA) Dr Lalith Wijetunge yesterday.
He said that multiple issues such as misdirected education systems, mindset problems are the key to this. “If you take India we have seen PHD holders applying for Office Assistance (peons) jobs but back in Sri Lanka graduates insist on a job to suit their qualification and this mindset results in over 100, 000 unemployed graduates.”
Graduates also do not have job oriented education and several public sector companies do not like to hire them as they pass out. This is why the OPA came up with a proposal to the government to introduce a ‘Part Time Employment Policy’ which is common all over the world. “Sri Lanka even doesn’t have any direction nor any laws towards this though temporary and part-time contracts have gradually been gaining importance in many labor markets.”
He said that by offering part time jobs school dropouts could gain quick employment and also a good training to move to their next employment tied in their life. “These are also several companies that do not want permanent jobs for some sectors and legalizing ‘‘Part Time Employment Policy’ can be a solution to this.”
In principle, both organizations and workers can benefit from part-time work, since it will help workers to achieve a balance between professional and private life, enhance labour market entry and increase employment when full-time jobs are not available.
President OPA Dulitha Perera said that when staff is requested to retire at 60 the country stops making use of their expertise and contribution they make to the GDP. “The solution to this is to offer them ‘‘Part Time Employment’
Perera recalled that he too worked part time as a drummer during his youth to make ends meet. It was also disclosed that Sri Lanka Unemployment rate increased to 5.70 % in March 2021, from the previously reported number of 5.20 % in December 2020 which includes 100,000 unemployed graduates. The number of jobs in the economy contracted by 160,996 in the first quarter of 2020 and GCE O/L and A/L drop outs would also add to this.
“These numbers may increase during the next two to three years due to the advancement of technology.”
The government should take measures to re-skill unemployed workers, as it is the key to their transition to new employment in booming sectors. “We have also proposed this scheme to labour minister Manusha Nanayakkara who was keen to implement this. All part time workers should be registered at the body allocated by the government.