Thursday, July 13, 2006

Civil Service Dump for Unemployed Graduates

So it has come to this. The local higher education system, both public and private, expanded its intake and "graduate" production capabilities at breakneck speed over the past 5-10 years. Over the last 5 years, the number of degree students enrolled in our tertiary institutions increased by 40.0% from 230,726 (2000) to 322,917 (2005). The corresponding impact of such explosive growth was the lowering of standards at our tertiary institutions as well as the entry criteria for enrolment. The ultimate impact - tens of thousands of unemployed (or unemployable) graduates.

To solve this issue, the Cabinet has instructed the Public Service Department (PSD) to sweep all these unemployed graduates under the carpet by employing them, and pretend that the source of the problems never existed.
The Public Services Department (PSD) and Public Services Commission have been urged to speed up the recruitment of graduates to fill some 30,000 vacancies in the civil service.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said this would overcome the problem of unemployed graduates, which had reached the 60,000 mark. This was among the recommendations made at the special committee chaired by Najib yesterday to discuss the issue of unemployed graduates.
Hence, our civil service has officially become the dump for our unemployable graduates. And the message to our undergraduates appears to be "Don't worry, if you can't find jobs, the Government will provide for you." The irony of it is what our Deputy Prime Minister says next.
"If we can speed up recruitment, we can reduce the number of unemployed graduates, and also increase the efficiency of the civil service."
So we populate our civil service with graduates nobody wants and we expect the civil service to improve in efficiency? Gosh.

With our graduates pool expected to increase at an accelerated pace for the next 5 years when enrolment is expected to be at 428,000 by 2010, are we then going to have one of the largest civil service in the world on a per capita basis? After all, we already have in all likelihood, one of the largest cabinet in the world.

20 comments:

YT Kuah said...

Well, to be fair to the Government, there really are 30,000 vacancies 'requiring a degree'.

As long as good recruitment practices are followed (interviews, testing all done), there should be no problem in speeding up recruitment. Organisations have been known do it, usually for the purposes of hiring someone who already has an offer...

However, as it is, it is still a stopgap measure, and Tony is right in pointing out that a more long-term solution is needed. Don't just treat the symptoms...

Lim said...

Dear All,
It is qt interesting to see how Tony arrived into concln (from the previous posting:
1. Unemployed graduates because IPTA is not good
2.He said: So we populate our civil service with graduates nobody wants and we expect the civil service to improve in efficiency? Gosh.

nobody wants because no jobs. If there are 30,000 vacancies, then the term 'nobody wants' is irrelevent and misleading.

Unemployed graduates is not just about university!

My main worried: Unemployed graduates is nothin' to do with the economics growth/condition?

Why we associate university education with the job market?

There are many school of thought about Uni. education which we should considered b4 blaming IPTA.

Anonymous said...

ellie writes..

..and it was thought that our local civil service is over-staffed when the proposal to raise the retirement age was not favourably agreed upon..

..absorbing unemployed graduates is of course one of the political rather than economic principles underlying the rationale of HR management in the public sector.. After all, that is the drive of public admin...fulfulling social responsibility etc. isn't that what we learnt at Economics Public Finance class...

moo_t said...

Lim, Yes, the current economy condition does play an roles on the job market, however, even good economy can't sustain a huge group of "un-employable" graduates.

It is scary when YT Kuah mentioned about the 30K "immediate vacancies. No organisation can create a sinkhole of 30,000 vancancies in a short time. If each of this "new government servant" take home RM1,000 salary monthly, the country must allocate at least 30 millions monthly, or extra 360 millions annually.

If the government is really serious about tackling the issues, they should provide retraining program that spend RM600-800 monthly on each unemployable graduates. This method are more feasible and cost effective in long run.

black mojo said...

This proves again and again...MALAYSIA BOLIH!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Lim,

Economy is one thing. The standard of our education system is another. So what do we get when we add both of the factors together?

The global economy is showing signs of minor recession, if not a serious one. This kind of "invisible hand" cant be control by us. However, the quality of education is man-made and is controllable.

If they are really serious in tackling the jobless problem, they shouldn't be doing what they are doing now. They are merely "filling the holes" with silicone paste and certainly can't do this forever because the whole building will collapse one day.

Even a pig knows about this simple senario. I guess they are even worse than pig. Long live UMNO!!

Maverick SM said...

The saying goes: "We will reap what we sow" and the Murphy's law must come real: "The solution to a problem will definitely breed far potent problems to come".

Instead of taking the bull by the horn and addressed the root problem of incompetencies and absolesence of the dysfunction system, the system managers chose to patch the pot holes by using inorganic substitutions.

Anonymous said...

Arguing that the government move makes the civil service mediocre as if its that high a priority for our political government leaders.

The main concern of UMNO/BN is that unemployed graduates pose a source of resentment that could lead to momentum for opposition and critics such as Dr. Mahathir especially.

The priority is not to solve the problem but to shut it up. These are people who have been fed with easy solution and easy way out their entire lives. You believe they even have a good sense of how immoral their actions/inactions are?

The truth is that if they could get away with just feeding these graduates they would but they don't have the money but push comes to shove they will waste the money especially since they know most of money comes from non-bumiputeras that they know push comes to shove they can ignore.

Their concern is not about being accountable for the money they collect but that many poor and average bumiputera feel that they have a higher claim to their problems, issues and cause i.e., its opportunities wasted for them.

The issue face in education is very complex, there is no simple patch em up solutions like the way they create instant billionaires that then go bankrupt without much consequences.

Anyone ever wonder why government invest in education really? In ancient times, education was entirely private and the realm of the privillege and truly talented. People did not complain because agri-based societies could sustain themselves that way and did not know better. With industrialization and now service economies, value of labour becomes very low and cannot keep the population employed. So the primary reason why government invest in education seriosuly is firstly to keep young people occupied and secondly employed. The priority to create high value labour force is really secondary in feudal societies and that is what we have - a feudal society with a veneer of modernity.

Is it surprising then that this unemployed graduate problem is given the shim-sham treatment that it is now?

Our political leader answer to such intractable problem is to just cover it up first and aim for high economic growth to solve the problem. Its a dream-like easy and simple solutions that their mediocrity finds acceptable and attractive not intellectually vigorous and hard-ship and sacrifice accepting ones.

So you can argue blue to your face, they will not deal with it the way you think it should because so long as there is money in the kitty and especially they don't have to be accountable to be people that pays those taxes and funds, they will keep day-dreaming and hope beyond hope and waste rather than pay the price of progress, modernity and justice.

ah piau said...

Dear learned readers,

Reading the whole issues and comments raised regarding this topic, make me wonder.

1.Why most of the blogger responded so negative with what ever the government is doing. Blamed the MOHE,Ministry of Human Resource, MOE and IPTA. When the issue of unemployed graduates was raised finger was pointed at the MOHE, IPTA and government for various reason. BUt when the government planned to help those graduates, again they were bashed. Really cannot understand........

2. Tony,

what do you mean by:
So we populate our civil service with graduates nobody wants and we expect the civil service to improve in efficiency? Gosh.

How can u be so sure that nobody wants the graduates? Are u implying that these graduates are 'not good' as you questioned whether the civil service will improve in efficiency if these graduates join the service?

Prada Jun said...

I agree with you ah piau....

I have noticed there is a major trend for people to complain nonconstructively and sometimes meanly on talk pages rather than make constructive ideas!

Anonymous said...

ellie writes..

..there are confusion because of perceptions.

.. some of the readers here reckon that the purpose of education is to eqully develop talented citizens to allow them to contribute positively to the nation's ongoing struggle to make the nation productive and competitive in the international arena.

..thus in some readers' views, it should be ideal if the authorities could mould the nation's school system to emphasise on merit, competition, technology and international standards..and in that context ie.to reject special priviledges for any group.

..as it is, according to some of the readers' comments, a lot of education policies are subject of long-standing political disputes and controversy..thus the reason of some misunderstanding and confusion..

YT Kuah said...

hi ah piau and prada jun,

strange that i have been noticing this too. I would like to say that we will get nowhere by bashing people or organisations instead of trying to understand the problem and offering constructive ideas.

it was a while ago when the trend was to bash ppl purely on race. that seems to have died (fingers crossed) when ppl realised that you can assume any identity online..

then again, it is because there is no early release of information or consulatation with the public before decisions are made. Matters always decided by the cabinet, then pronounced through the gov press. Without information, no one in Malaysia can discuss issues properly and hence resort to attacks...sigh..

i guess there should be more to democracy then just voting every X years.

*sorry to hijack this thread.
*30K vacancy was taken from the same article Tony mentioned.

tigerjoe said...

Greeting KM & TP,

Notwithstanding the rhetoric that you attach to the idea of having the PSD expedite its recruitment for civil service vacancies; I believe that you have (inadvertently or otherwise) branded 70,000-odd local gradutes as being less than satisfactory. Of course, the said graduates might not feel too flattered by such a generalisation.

Personally, I think a big part of the problem is that the typical Malaysian parent wants their child to hold a tertiary degree, regardless of whether that piece of paper has any "relevance" or "marketability". Ther are not enough parents who would encourage their children to take up a trade skill or go for vocational training, and the cause is usually down to a negative perception of such pursuits.

In any case, I would like to put forward a suggestion that you look at options for vocational / trade skills development in Malaysia. This might be a relevant option for school-leavers in the near future.

I find from personal experience that there are very few trained tradespeople (welders, plumbers, electricians, etc.) who are not already in their late thirties or forties. Where are the young ones?

junhoe said...

I'm undergrad starting my 3rd year in UKM, and I'm slightly disturbed how your entry sweepingly put all thes local graduates as below par. I'm not refuting that there may be some black sheeps there, but to say all of them are 'graduates which no one wants' is harsh, no?

How bout pointing out mismatch of jobs? Like in UKM, the largest faculty is science and technology. Yet our government still laments the lack of skilled scientists in our country. Firstly, many of these students are not interested in science from the beginning. Secondly, lack of real job opportunities. Try checking out the national biotech website - most of the companies there are manufacturers of lab tools or biotech investment arms, and only a sprinkling that's actually involved in research. Grads need to be convinced and shown real jobs available, not just hypes like Biovalley.

Yes, plenty more can be done to improve the quality of local graduates, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt first.

Tony P said...

Sigh. I don't know whether I should bother to respond to some of the above comments. There some very "perasan" and sensitive people out there.

Now, for the umpteenth time (if you read my posts), I have absolutely nothing against local grads. My own firm of some 60 people is made up of at least 80-90% local grads whom I recruit (shortlist, interview, offer) personnally. I love them compared to many many foreign grads out there.

(But with so many local grads giving me the kick, I'm not sure whether I should be such a fervent defender of local grads anymore.)

The post above is not about local grads. (I read and re-read the post, and I'm not sure how one can argue that I was condemning local grads.) It's about unemployed and unemployable grads, from both local and pseudo-foreign (local private colleges with foreign tie-ups) colleges.

There are good local grads, and there are the shitty ones. And similarly, there are good foreign grads, and there are equally shitty ones (or worse).

MOST (i.e., in English, meaning "a large majority but not all") of the unemployed who for one reason or other can't find jobs within 6 months to a year typically belong to the shitty pool. These lot who probably shouldn't have qualified for university in the first place will now be part of our civil service and we can hope (and pray) that they will "improve efficiency".

And yes, I'm "generalising" and there's nothing wrong with that, fully knowing that there are almost always exceptions. If I have to list down all the exceptions for all statements I make, then readers will fall asleep and my posts will be 5 pages long.

Grrr....

Tony P

Anonymous said...

Chill le tony

dracula77 said...

I agree with Tony, we need to focus on the unemployed/unemployable issue not local/overseas grads..The graduates quality not depends on which university, "oxbridge" or what so ever. I used to attach at public univesity and now I have a chance in teaching/supervising Msian student overseas. I would say it's "same". Bare in mind some of our students overseas 'think' they are too smart, and they did work hard...The fact is we can always compensate "intelligent" with "hardworking". I would prefer to work with hardworking people than smartass people..

Back to the issue...during recession in late 1990s, there were so many unemployed grads. Therefore, gov increased the intake for teachers (KPLI-kursus latihan lepasan ijazah)..If you guys still remember, last couple of months, one of the minister said we had excess teachers..And the intake of PTD also was increased from 100 to 300 at that time, ...Why???because we always choose a temporary solution..we need to look for long term solution...why can't our graduates compete globally??? Why can't we encourage them to work overseas?? If we think our sylibus good enough we should be able to do so..Prepare such program for overseas attahment or whatsoever..Even our PhD graduates are not globally competitive, thus most of them stuck at local universities, research centres or gov agencies...something need to be done Tok Pa! We are talking about global world, open sky etc...but we are not prepared for this..In newspaper yesterday, HRD needs 8 weeks to fulfill 30 k vacancies? Are they out of mind or something? For 1 position I would say 10 applicants, and at least 5 shortlisted for interview. So, for 30k, they will have about 300K application, enough time to "speed reading" the resumes? :-D...To the related department, do we really need this much people???If the vacancies need SPM, don't upgrade it to degree for the sake of so many unemployed graduates.

small thambi said...

aiya,

not nice to just simply say people 'perasan' or sensitive. They just reacting on comments give on the topic. Come on la. Discussion like that la. Got someone support u and somebody else against u.

A statement can be interpreted in various ways depending on one background, knowledge and understanding. A statement aslo can be interpreted literally or purposively

What ever it is dont just belasah without tengok your left and right.

good day.

jaytea said...

i think the statistics are high on the local grad side is because the ministry is taking it based on the numbers of registered unemployed graduates on their database.
unless you register, unless you declase that you are unemployed,you're not part of this statistics.
local grads would be more likely to register.

Anonymous said...

Tiny Grrrrrr,
Please give chance a bit laa for APITT graduates to join your company and to prove that APITT got standard!
The taste in the pudding is by eating

If after 6 months probation and ur not happy then you can kick us out of the company. You then can test another batch of APITT graduates

Paramjit (???) the owner of APITT ver sad by your comment:(((
He told me like this APITT mati laa if kena hentam by Tont Grrrrr!