Bridging the gap between university education and job market requirements

By Ruvini Perera
Department of Entrepreneurship
Final year
University of Sri Jayewardenepura

To have a bright education and to be better off in life is every person`s dream since their childhood. To achieve this, a major step that they take is attending the university to continue further studies which they expect will make them eligible for a qualified, professional and a well-paid job. But unfortunately, this desired happy ending might not occur in many people’s lives even after years of spending on studying and learning at a university because of the inability to be the right fit for the jobs in the market.

University education which is also known as tertiary education is an optimal stage of learning after secondary education where an academic qualification is provided. People get a college degree due to many reasons, mainly to be more attractive to employers, for job stability, career satisfaction and long-term financial gains. They do so to increase the chances of getting a well-paid job with social status. But does this really happen? Unfortunately, the answer is a huge NO. Employers are always trying to achieve a competitive advantage in whatever they do. So, employers seek employees who can bring something new to the table. This thinking influences employers to think thoroughly before hiring someone for a company. The available chances are few, thus the opportunity is given to the most suitable candidates.

The main reason for this gap can be identified as the lack of integration and congruence between students,universities and corporates.The universities and corporates work in isolation.Students aren’t even aware of what they should have when entering the job market and the companies are also less aware of what skills to expect from the candidates who are to join just after college and who has no corporate exposure at all.The universities doesn’t have the perfect idea of what is expected by a practical company as they don`t integrate together in policy and decision making which has significantly caused this issue ultimately leading to unemployment and low workforce retention.

This is identified as a contemporary issue around the world and in Sri Lanka this has become a burning issue. Not only there`s a gap, it was identified by experts that the future of careers would be changing at a rapid speed which means that this would be an issue for years. But it is required to come up with solutions to face this challenge.

It is the duty of universities and higher education institutions to acknowledge and equip the students with all the relevant knowledge experience and skills to get a good job and to remain in it.Of course a university degree is worth because it provides a vast amount of knowledge but the issue here is that more weight is provided to the theoretical aspects.Universities act as the bridge between students and the corporate sector which can fill these gaps. One may blame another saying that it’s their fault, but it is not only the role of one specific party to fulfill this gap. It is the responsibility of all the three parties.

On the part of students, they should be proactive to identify the skills required by the job market and try to equip them with the support and guidance from the university and the lecturers.Students should be vigilant enough to search and identify the skills that they lack and identify ways to fulfill them.As the provider of education the university has a major role to play here.Lecturers should be trained to provide the students with what is actually expected by the job market.Significantl focus should be provided on soft skills programmes for developing soft skills considered important by corporates .Conduct assessment programs to assist their employability skills and provide opportunities like active learning with more internships,studying abroad and engagement in extra curricular activities.Take actions to develop the study of entrepreneurship so that students will become more of job providers than job seekers.This field of study is becoming more popular at present and this can be considered as a long term solution for the problem of unemployment as it creates not job seekers but job providers who create a number of job opportunities.Career counseling should be provided to the students on the path that they have selected. Corporate employers shouldn’t wait until qualified candidates come to them searching for jobs.They too have a role to play in shaping a student in making them a potential well-qualified candidate.So for that they can collaborate more with higher educational institutes to provide sponsored programs, allow students to expose to various career pathways prevelant in the industry and develop and provide workforce related educational experiences. If all key individuals in the industrial and business world genuinely support universities in producing the best products for the work-world, it will be a win-win situation for them in the long run and the country will also stand to benefit from it immensely.

, Business, ,

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post