Can we afford to produce so many graduates?
We have three state universities and several local and joint universities in our little city. And each has been increasing their intakes of undergraduates rapidly. And we have several polytechnics as well. Then we also have students going abroad on scholarships or on their own to pursue that degree. In total, it is quite possible that 40-50% of each cohort will turn up with a degree and another 20-30% with a diploma. Can our economy absorb all these graduates and keep them usefully and meaningfully employed with reasonable jobs and income commensurate with their qualifications? Employing graduates in jobs that do not require their level of education is not satisfactory and not a desirable solution. In order to accommodate all these graduates, there must be a policy change to make it workable. The liberal policies of welcoming foreigners that are no better or even less well educated or trained as our citizens must be modified. If we are serious in wanting to raise the educational level and technical expertise of our citizens, we must have the capacity to absorb them into the system. The liberal policies of employing foreigners for middle executive levels and above need revision, including setting quotas for local versus foreigners. If the job market is to be lassez faire, the unfair competitiveness of foreign talents will only rule out the employment of local graduates and we will be building a little time bomb in the social fabrics of our society. There will be a political and social price to pay. Answering to the demands and expectation of parents and individuals to want a tertiary education is one part of an equation. Satisfying their higher expectations in jobs and lifestyle is the other. The first part is being accomplished with the availability of more university and polytechnic places. Looks like the second part of the equation is still unsatisfactorily managed and will build up more stress in our system. The young and unemployed graduates and the displaced PMETs will be a force to be reckon with.