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‘Education Has Failed Students’

Education has failed students and business on employability, the Commonwealth Education Ministers’ Integrated Partners Forum at the Sheraton Fiji Resort heard yesterday. And, debate during the forum was told of
21 Feb 2018 11:13
‘Education Has Failed Students’
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark with Attorney-General and Minister for Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and other delegates, observe a moment of silence for Cyclone Winston victims during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Education Ministers Conference at the Sheraton Fiji Resort on February 20, 2018. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama called for the moment of silence and also remembered those affected by Cyclone Gita. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Education has failed students and business on employability, the Commonwealth Education Ministers’ Integrated Partners Forum at the Sheraton Fiji Resort heard yesterday.

And, debate during the forum was told of the lamentation of employers in many global corners about employees who have the correct bit of paper but a total inability to effectively apply it.

Speaking during the forum, Benjamin Fraser, the Commonwealth Students’ Association, Caribbean and America’s Regional Representative, said high and persistent levels of unemployment, together with job vacancies that remain unfilled, are often attributed to mismatches between jobs and skills.

“The Hays Global Index assesses the dynamics of skilled labour markets across 33 countries from all regions of the globe. The report reveals that between 2015 and 2016 there was a global increase in the challenge of business to matching available skills with unfilled jobs. On a scale 1-10, 10 being the most unfavourable 15 countries scored at least 6.5,” Mr Fraser said.

He said employers and industry officials needed to be involved in defining curricula and learning outcomes and help to decide which skills the students were being trained.

He cited Austria, which won the attention of the international community for controlling its unemployment rate through its dual education system, characterised by alternating school-based and company-based training stages.

“Secondly, having been in raised in the information age, Millennials are the most tech savvy generation the world has ever seen,’’ Mr Fraser said.

“As a result, the growing portion of the labour force is drawn to STEM careers. Many boast a portfolio of hard technical skills that belie our young ages.

“However, when it comes to soft skills, Millennials fall short, and it’s frustrating for employers.”

He said a McKinsey survey of young people employers in nine countries, 40 per cent of 2700 employers said lack of skills and 60 per cent said that new graduates were not prepared for the world of work as there were gaps in soft skills such as communication teamwork and punctuality.

On entrepreneurship, Mr Fraser said modern education systems must discontinue its failure to demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental importance of entrepreneurship as an applicable practice.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback:  charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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