It emerged at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting on Monday that the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) is inundated with graduates from social and political fields with a limited number in science and technical areas. It was revealed that the employability and marketability of graduates in science and technical fields fairs better than their counterparts. The fields according to MoESD Permanent Secretary Theophilus Mooko who appeared before PAC can drive the country towards economic welfare and sustainability. Graduates in social fields such as lawyers and teachers, he said, will struggle to find jobs, unlike in yester years.
It seems that MoESD has a bigger task in prioritizing programmes which the labor market will respond to. In other words, it is the onus of the education system to produce employable graduates. The reality today is that graduates complete their studies only to lie idle at home in despair of their inability to obtain employment.
“We have decided as Ministry to cut down sponsorship on non-science and technical related fields to avoid mismatch of job opportunities on offer at the market place. As a Ministry we have to prioritise sponsorship on areas of fields,” revealed Mooko.
Mooko was grilled by PAC members over the declining education quality which fails to produce employable graduates. The current state of education does not seem to show signs of improvement, at least not yet.
Reassuring his Ministry’s commitment to rectifying the anomaly, Mooko maintained that his Ministry is concerned about the developments. He followed to cite technical and vocational fields as the country’s solution for the high unemployment rate.
“The current tertiary programme including the University of Botswana produce graduates who cannot fill into the economy. It’s all the result of poor coordination. It is against this backdrop that as the Ministry we will have to step up our efforts and identify areas of priority for the value of our money,” the Accounting Officer said, referring to the money pumped into the tertiary education system but without visible positive results.
While acknowledging the impact the technical and vocational training will have on the country’s economy, Mooko is worried of the perception Batswana have on the nature of such studies and their subsequent employment.
“Many of our children prefer white collar jobs than these vocational and technical jobs,” he lamented, calling on the nation’s collective efforts towards improving the education conditions instead of assigning sole responsibility to the Ministry.