Eighty percent of high school graduates in Malawi return to villages every year as they can neither find jobs nor employ themselves.
The development is attributed to the acute human resource wastage in our current education and training systems, said Botswana Tertiary Education Council executive secretary Dr. Patrick Molutsi.
He said this in his presentation on Thursday at the start of Iveta conference being held in Malawiâ€™s Lake shore resort in Mangochi District.
Molutsi presented a paper on the Crisis of Transformation: Human Resource Development Strategies for Low Growth Economies.
He said the majority of the Sadc countries have Tevet and tertiary access rates of below 10 percent. Only Mauritius reported tertiary education access rate of close to 25 percent followed by South Africa at 18.5 percent and Botswana at 16.4 percent in 2012.
“In Malawi, for instance, only around 7 000 of the estimated 100 000 high school graduates were reported to access Tevet and tertiary education in 2011. This means well of 80 percent of high school graduates go back to the villages every year as they can neither find jobs nor employ themselves.
“This trend is common across the region and points to the acute human resource wastage in our current education and training systems. This trend further illustrated how the current human resource development strategies reproduce rather than eliminate poverty in these societies,” said Molutsi.
In most Sadc countries, he said, a lot of artisans and technicians can neither find jobs nor create job opportunities for themselves and others because the economies are not conducive to sustain small businesses.
“If we take countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia and Swaziland as examples, only a few artisans and technicians are absorbed by their economies,” said Molutsi.
One of the challenges of the current human resource development strategies is that only few learners find opportunities to access education and training at tertiary level, he added.
Molutsi, however, said Sadc countries are generally behind in performance when compared to the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, Teveta (Malawi)executive director Yusuf Alide has said his country is faced with skills gaps at various levels, especially technicians because the University of Malawi phased out the diploma level and introduced more degrees.
The development, according to Alide, raises fears that Malawi may end up producing too many thinkers and few people with hands on skills. This contravenes recommended output ratios and creates graduate unemployment.
“Malawi needs a robust human resource development which should be linked to potential areas of economic growth,” challenged Alide.
He said the reformed Tevet system which Teveta-Malawi is championing realised the need for technical, managerial, and entrepreneurship skills and has attempted to provide such skills, through apprenticeship, private sector, and informal sector training programme, guided by the Tevet qualifications framework, since its establishment in 1999.
He said the Tevet Framework runs from foundation or assistant operative level to technician or diploma level but elsewhere, the vocational strand runs from foundation to PhD level without diluting the vocational flavour.