Thursday, July 06, 2006

More on Jobless 70%

The Sun who reported on the "70% jobless grads" report (blogged here), followed up with a commentary yesterday. Despite not questioning the logic behind a the silly statistic, it raised some good points which I will quote here:
Unfortunately, the response given by Abu Bakar-that his ministry has established a retraining scheme and is providing feedback to the Higher Education and Education ministries-appears to be tired and unimaginative, much like an attempt to mend a burst mains with Band Aid. You just know that it's doomed to fail.

So, instead of cramming school leavers into universities that spring up overnight, we could start by taking them into skills development centres that can mould them into well-trained, technically sound workers who will form the economic backbone of a dynamic developing nation.
I've been curious about all these millions of ringgit spent on "retraining schemes" for our unemployed graduates. I mean, what's the point? If 3-4 years of tertiary education can't make one employable, how much can the "retraining schemes" do? If these schemes were indeed that useful and successful, we might as well have them as part of our university courses! Alternatively, if these "retraining schemes" are teaching these unemployed new industrial skills, then possibly these students shouldn't have been accepted into universities in the first place.

Hence the suggesting by The Sun to slow down the "cramming" of school leavers into universities is a valid one. This is to me, the primary cause of jobless graduates in this country.


Anonymous said...

Tony, retraining schemes are just another way of our BN-led govt to put more money to themselves and their cronies under the guise of a social contract.

Anonymous said...

I am puzzled..

..the fresh graduate with the degree & the detailed transcripts on hand ...he knows he has passed and is equipped with the proper specialized skills to get the job as advertised..

yet..he is not shortlisted ..what happened?

1) too many people chasing too
few jobs..recession still?

2) the experienced workers are
hopping around ..thinking the
grass is greener elsewhere..
..employers prefer those with
some work experience?...

3) the fresh graduates have been hampered by:

i)poor communication skills in Eng. Lang. ( one of Tony's many concerns )

ii)inadequate creative problem-solving capabilities

iii)lack of basic professional business training the authorities knew of the above and started the Graduate Training Scheme..

..then what happened?

..and they say the rest is... whose-story now?

Anonymous said...

I think we don't need to argue anymore. All of us will agree that if Malaysian public universities adopt a true meritocracy, all these statistics and arguments will not have the opportunity to surface. End of the story :O

PS: But then, wouldn't the blogosphere be kind of boring without something to shoot?


Anonymous said...

All these graduate training schemes are just another way to put money into undeserving pockets. It is so lucrative that many of these 'institutions' are offering allowances to graduates who enrol. Just browse through the newspaper adverts.

Anonymous said...

'I'm a celebrity, get me an honorary degree!'

Why bother going to college, studying hard and getting into debt for the sake of some letters after your name? All you need to do is get famous - and they'll throw doctorates at you. But why? Stuart Jeffries reports

Thursday July 6, 2006
The Guardian

On July 11 2001, Billy Connolly was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Glasgow. He was thrilled, telling reporters: "It's an enormous honour to get, especially from academia, because my behaviour over the years hasn't exactly been academic. I have had salmon flies named after me and I thought that was my lot."
The Daily Mail eulogised the Scottish funnyman's honour: "The boy from Anderston may have left school aged 15 with no qualifications but his success on stage and screen has more than earned him his place among the nation's brightest talents."

I love that phrase "more than earned". It suggests: you may think you're clever Stephen Hawking, and all you other big-brained Britons, but you're nothing next to the Big Yin. You might think the phrase "less than earned" would have been more appropriate, but that would show you to be out of step with what celebrity can achieve in what many contend is this increasingly dumb Britain.

Celebrating the award with him in 2001 was his wife Pamela Stephenson, who five years earlier had completed six years' study for a PhD in clinical psychology at the California Graduate Institute. In the light of Connolly's honorary degree, one really wonders why she bothered. Indeed, at a time when a degree costs at least three years of your life minimum and up to £20,000 in tuition fees and living costs, why does any student bother? Surely it would be much less demanding to become famous for something fatuous (how's your father in the BB Jacuzzi, centre-court streaking) and then issue your demand: "I'm a celebrity, get me an honorary doctorate!"

This, you might be forgiven for thinking, is the way academia is going. In 2002, for example, the University of Wolverhampton gave honorary degrees to members of Slade. Italian referee Pierluigi Collina has one from Hull. Over-indulged bigmouth TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson has one from Oxford Brookes University. Michael Douglas and Joanna Lumley just got ones from St Andrews (his is for - no really - "services to film"). The Bee Gees' Robin and Barry Gibb are honorary doctors of music at the University of Manchester, sharing their degree with their late brother Maurice. The titles are revealing: a Doctor of Letters is usually accorded to arty types or entertainers; when Kofi Annan received his honorary doctorate from Oxford they made him a doctor of civil law - there is method in the honorary madness. There is, however, only one Honorary Doctorate in Amphibious Studies: it was awarded to Kermit the Frog in 1996 by Long Island's Southampton College (whatever that is).

At least Connolly was gracious about his honorary degree. He said of his wife: "Pamela is a real doctor, she's got the six-year job." But then if Stephenson holds the real degree, what - really - is the point of Connolly's? One explanation came from John Caughie, dean of the faculty of arts at Glasgow. Presenting Connolly with his degree, he said: "His appeal is international and he should be honoured for that. But more locally, his achievement traces the route by which we in Scotland became more confident - and more critical - of ourselves, able to take ourselves and our bodily functions a little less seriously." If they're giving out doctorates for making us laugh at our digestive tracts, while perhaps not offering them, say, to those who study said tracts, perhaps something has gone terribly wrong in British academia.

As it was, one wasn't enough for the Big Yin. Earlier this week he donned robes again and joined actor Tilda Swinton and singer Annie Lennox in Glasgow, where all three received honorary degrees from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. "I read that David Attenborough has 29 honorary degrees," he said, "but I think two will do me." This is good news, because celebrity honorary degree-itis can actually become an addiction: Desmond Tutu has 30.

This addiction to honours cuts both ways, however: what academic institution would not want to confer an honorary degree on Nelson Mandela? (He already holds 53, nine of them from British institutions.)

St Andrews seems particularly amenable to giving celebs honorary degrees. Why? "It is a good way of bringing universities closer to the communities they serve," says director of press Niall Scott. "It also gets the university's name and some nice pictures in the paper ... the media has become so obsessed with the cult of celebrity these days that only the star names stand out." So the media (as always!) is to blame for this benighted trend. This week Private Eye published Michael Douglas's degree citation in Latin, hailing the "Actum Thespianorum magnifico in particulare 'Attractiuone Fatali' et 'Instincto Fundamentali' cum Sharon Lapida (Audultus Solus XXX)." I hope that was the sort of press coverage St Andrews wanted.

How are the celebs chosen? "For outstanding contribution to their fields," says Scott, but then he isn't responsible for Slade's honorary degree. Scott also points out that St Andrews doesn't give honours for favours, or cash. The online college Regent International University, however, offers honorary degrees for a "minimum honorarium of $299" that will give you "the satisfaction of knowing that you have become a benefactor and patron of a non-profit instituting [sic] of higher education". To order an honorary degree right now, go to:

Who will resist this trend? Consider what happened in Melbourne in May 1986 when Prince Philip arrived to launch Monash University's 25th anniversary celebrations and pick up an honorary science degree. Two protesters interrupted the ceremony, calling the prince a "parasite" for accepting the degree. Members of the Monash Association of Students had earlier given a 21-month-old chihuahua an honorary science degree. A spokesman said the dog had as much right to a degree as the duke. Other suggested it had much more.

Or consider that heartening moment when Jeremy Clarkson was hit by a custard pie thrown by a vegetarian while picking up his degree for his "contribution to learning and society". George W Bush, too, earned protests from Yale when he was given an honorary degree by his alma mater in 2001, while Oxford academics refused to give Margaret Thatcher one. In May this year, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez believed Oxford dons were going to award him an honorary degree - but that proved to be a misunderstanding. Such is the crazy world of honorary degrees: Clarkson gets the nod, political leaders get two fingers.

In such circumstances, why would anyone want one? The Big Yin offered up one possible answer this week. "If you don't go through higher education in the first place, you go through life thinking you're not that bright," he said. But, of course, part of the enduring mystery of honorary degrees is they do get handed out to people with actual degrees. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has apparently not yet had time to pick up his honorary degree from London Metropolitan University, but why, with a masters in economics from Strasbourg and the nickname the professor, would he want to accept a degree that confers no real prestige but puts him on a footing with a muppet? You'd need two (real) PhDs to answer that.

· Additional reporting by Kaya Burgess and Jack Shenker.

Instant academics

Anonymous said...

It's true that 3 or 4 years of tertiary education is not enough for fresh graduates to cope in real world situations. What we have learned in universities are just theories and more theories that hardly being applied in the real working environment. And due to the fact that universities are academic institutions that emphasise on readings, memorising and examinations that extend from our school education system than courseworks that relate to the outside world, it's not surprising to see fresh graduates struggle initially to meet the employers' demands.

If government really want to retrain us, the ICT graduates (I'm still undergrad :)), try to consider some more suitable and more professional courses like CCNA,CCNP,CCIE,MCSE,SCJP, Oracle DBA which will equip us with sound technical skills than some useless English language and courses that suited more to computer technicians.

Cheers :)

Anonymous said...

The problem of these jobless graduates are too simple:

1 Too many "unqualified students' entering the universities
2 Too many universities in this country both private and public
3 Poor standards of teachings in the universities.
The academic staff are really no longer interested in teaching and going the extra mile to achieve that cutting edge.

Some of the courses and faculties "rebrand' their courses with hype sounding names such as using 'logies" at the end to trap or bait the student or use the words "applied" or "advanced"but infact it is the same old useless wine in new bottles

Most of these staff are not even qualified in that subjects as it is not their specializations or still too " green' to be specialised

Another factor is the examinations.
In this includes such lowering of exam standards and too easy to get 3.75 to 4.0 pointers even without trying hard

Rather than be patient and trying to improve the standards University Colleges are now converting to Full Universities status. hehe
Have you all visited the campuses and see the differences in infra structures and facilities between UNIVERSITY COLLEGES ans FULL UNIVERSITIIES?? For all that dont, please try to visit and asess yourself

You must remember in BOLIHLAND everything is FAST like Mee Magee Cepat di masak sedap di makan.....hehe

Anonymous said...

'1 Too many "unqualified students' entering the universities
2 Too many universities in this country both private and public
3 Poor standards of teachings in the universities.
The academic staff are really no longer interested in teaching and going the extra mile to achieve that cutting edge.'

Dear Anon Fri Jul 07, 10:00:22 AM ,

Could you give authorities or justifications to support what u wrote above. My humble opinion is that it is unfair to make such statement without having facts and datas to support.

One thing. What do u mean like magee Cepat di masak sedap di makan. As far as I know, to earn a degree in Uni, u need at least 31/2 years for non professional courses and at least 4 years for professional courses.

Anonymous said...

As an employer, I more or less could practically observe how the 70% came about. Most of these grads from whatever unis ending with 'M', with the exception of UM, would have their resumes go straight to the Thrash Can. Why? They could not even prepare a presentable CV, broken language and all. Although the foreign grads are not necessarily superior, it is more apparent that the local grads are half-hearted in their job application. Most of these rejects are skewed to a particular race, which I would not mention.

Anonymous said...

Not even USM?

Anonymous said...

Pity Prof Ichibawa: Sorry to hear that you don't have officer to do the short-listing.

l will tell my boss: Sir we just take UM and foreign grad. Easy for me!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

No, only Harvard and MIT grads. All others rejected.

Anonymous said...

July 06, 2006 22:20 PM

UiTM Gets RM3.2 Bln Allocation Under 9MP

KOTA KINABALU, July 6 (Bernama) -- The government has allocated RM3.2 billion to Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) to help the university create more Bumiputera professionals.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said the allocation was the biggest given to a university under the 9MP. UiTM, with 85,000 students, is the largest institution of higher learning in Malaysia among the 18 public universities in the country.

He said the allocation was in line with efforts to strengthen human capital in the country by creating first-class minds as desired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"UiTM gets a special place in the country. It was established to provide knowledge to Bumiputeras and to reduce the gap between Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras, particularly in professional areas.

"This shows that the government is sensitive to UiTM's role. Without UiTM, there will not be many Bumiputera professionals today. Before UiTM, there were only a few Bumiputeras in the engineering and accounting fields.

"But with UiTM, the number of Bumiputeras in various professional fields has been growing. In the 1970s, Bumiputeras comprised only about five per cent of people in the professional fields," he said when meeting with new UiTM students at the Sabah campus, here Thursday.

It is understood that UiTM Sabah is given a development allocation of RM130 million under the 9MP to build a library, an academic complex and a satellite laboratory. The project is expected to start at the end of the year.

Mustapa advised the new students to strive for excellence in all aspects, including personality and leadership, to make themselves more competitive in the labour market.

He said employers nowadays no longer needed graduates with good academic results only but also with excellent skills and personality.

"Numerous surveys have found that employers, apart from emphasising academic excellence, also demand additional skills in their prospective staff, including communication skill," he added.


What the hell are they doing? Creating more jobless undergraduates from UiTM? So what's the point disclosing the statistics earlier if they wanted to do this at any cost? Go hell with BN...

Anonymous said...

I think there are many factors.

Standard of english is one of the reason. However I believe some job you don't need to speak like a news presenter. So those rejected due to bad english is minor-lah.

I employ people too, the good news for the graduates is I do take in broken english people for certain job position, as long as they are good in the areas required.

Besides the academic part, personal qualities and attitude is extremely important, at least to my organization. I think most of the time it is the latter that failed them. Sad to say that but true. That's the trend now, lack of good personal qualities and attitude.

The fact that nobody can deny is the economy is slow. There are more people than there are jobs in the market!

Graduates are choosy, it is a fact now! People nowadays are different from those ten years back. Graduates want the right and suitable job on the spot, if don't feel like it, they rather spent the time searching for other job until they get one that really suits them. I've heard real life news graduates searching for job for 1 - 2 years, mean while they'll just "lepak" or stay at home play computer games.

I don't take Oxford, Harvard, MIT graduates. If they ever apply (I think they won't even think about working in a small company), sure end up in my reject bins!

So folks, don't feel sad if you ain't from top universities, there are organizations that need you guys, just prepare yourself with a good personal attitude. Have you ever wonder why there are so many top executives that are not from MIT or Harvard?

Anonymous said...

Not Prof,

You missed my point. As an equal-opportunity employer, we invite applicants from all backgrounds. I would not take your recommendation only to make my job easier. It's a pity that local grads of that particular race could not rise up to the occasion and clinch the abundant jobs available.

Well, it is a 'meritocracy' as claimed in university admissions, so it is when it comes to filling jobs.

Anonymous said...


your arguments sound reasonable to me.

Anonymous said...


I think Tony will be peeved by your comment.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Ichibawa,

I think it is not fair of you to say ALL application from U starts with M go to the trash can.

How about those really good students? You are generalising a particular race to be bad in quality but I think it is not a fair statement.

Why with the exception of UM? Isn't the same that UM also does not practice meritocracy in their admission?

Anonymous said...


I said 'most' and not as you put it. My justification has been given in my first comment if you would only read.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Ichibawa,

You have not answer my 2nd question! Couldn't you read?

Karcy R. said...

Hello Tony,

My name is Catalina, and this is the first time I am commenting on your blog. I wrote a response to this issue on another blog that mentioned this. The following is a slightly adapted version of what I wrote:

I feel that in voicing my opinions out loud I may be treading on sensitive toes, but this is an issue that is close to my heart as a young person in this country. I apologize if I appear ignorant in stating this, but I think that this survey isn't a very accurate way of depicting employment prospects among students.

When was this survey conducted? How much time has passed between graduation and employment? I do know that there are many unemployed graduates, and it is a serious issue, but I wish there was a more accurate methodology.

One potential flaw that I see in this is the timing of the survey. The last time I took part in it (I graduated last year) I was only some three months after my final exam. During that time, many young people opt to 'time out' for a breather, perhaps in their homes, or go about travelling. While some of them remain unemployed for even up to several years, some are pretty smart and capable kids who just need some 'me space' to celebrate the final phase of childhood. I was one of the rare kids who took advantage of that time to jump straight into a short-term period of work. Perhaps if the survey was conducted slightly later, the numbers would be less staggering.

I believe that a more accurate -- if slightly more costly --methodology would be to keep track of graduates for about two to three years after graduation, and observe how soon they get a job, where, and in which line of work. This way we would be able to determine which group of students are just getting some 'me space', and which are truly serious cases of unemployment.

I apologize beforehand if I have been mistaken in any of my statements written above. This is an issue of great concern for students and institutions alike, and as mentioned earlier, a matter close to my heart.

Anonymous said...


"You have not answer my 2nd question! Couldn't you read?"

You mean your question on the really good students from local uni? They're hired, of course.

I thought I do not have to answer that since I have pointed out that you erroneously quoted me as saying ALL local grads go straight to the Trash Can.

Lets not get to the topic of spoonfeeding. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Aih, professor.....

Looks like I have to spoon feed you!

I meant why the exception UM?

(Big Sigh!)

Anonymous said...

Prof. Ichibawa,

you said
'They could not even prepare a presentable CV, broken language and all.'

I can only see 2 reasons. Dear learned Prof, sorry, I've to concur with citizen? your are not providing justifications for your statement.

just my 2 cents

Anonymous said...


I shared your sentiment that it is unfair to generalise. In this case only um is good. What about other ipta. USM also not easy to be admitted. UTM, UKM, UPM.

Secondly, 'Most of these rejects are skewed to a particular race, which I would not mention' - not nice la.

Anonymous said...


I am only providing my observations at my working environment. So it is entirely my personal view that UM grads are better than the rest. You may of course disagree and give your own observations instead without resorting to shouts. Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking of doing some research ( for my postGrad future :) ) on the topic "to what extent are we participating in the emerging globalization of the labor market" ..or something to that effect..

Guess I better change new topic..

..inspired :)

Anonymous said...

prof. ichibawa,

The UM you are refering to is University of Malaya or University of Michigan?

What if a potential applicant got first class honours from USM, UTM, UPM, UKM?

Consider this, President Bush - Yale, former President Reagon - Eureka College. Which one better? One cannot judge a person by his school.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your answers prof. ichi, good day!

Anonymous said...

UM was excellent before but not that good today. However, in most cases UM still the best among the local university graduates. In a way Prof Ichibawa is right :))

Anonymous said...

right or wrong, this sentence

"Most of these rejects are skewed to a particular race, which I would not mention."

Is an insult which I will not tolerate.

Anonymous said...

Remember! When the Election comes the next time, please use your head to vote and not your emotions or racial sentiment
A good government is one with good opposition....Electing the opposition doesnt mean you agree with the opposition or against the ruling party.
There need to be balance, check and counter check. We cannot just depend on Uncle Lim alone to fight!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Tony,

I think you should moderate some of your readers nicknames.


Anonymous said...


I think the sentence is right. But redundant, we all know that.

Anonymous said...

*lame nick, sorry*

anyway, all public U graduates are poor. they can't speak properly and they have poor presentation skills. how do u expect to get a job if you look like u just woke up? the biggest problem is attitude. our universities continue to produce graduates who are poor in projecting the right attitude. they are lazy, not hardworking, sloppy and yet can demand high salary.

of course, there are always good apples in a basket of rotten ones. it's a gem if you (employers) can find them.

don't be fooled with these grads having good grades. i think someone pointed out that our public U's are notorious for giving high grades easily, even easier than the priv colleges. the standard is extremely poor. even the better priv U's like MMU have very questionable policies like the unrestricted retake policy. this kind of educational policies reflect wat type of institutions they are. poor integrity and academic standard. it's so shameful, yet no one knows about it because these are internal policies which the public/employers will never know.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, I know what race he meant. Everybody knows. However spelling it out in black and white will only provoke hatred among other races. What will we achieve other than "feeling better" a bit yourself and make the other race hate you more?

Anonymous said...

Public universities base their intake on race, not merit, that is why they suck. I bet the majority of those unemployed are from one particular race. My friend in USM told me that that particular race form the majority of those earning 2nd lower honours and below. They were admitted because of their race, not because they are good. Of course they will be rotten when they graduate. The government can no longer protect them whem they come out to the working world which employ based on merit, not on race.

Anonymous said...


We will make them work harder and realise their predicament for being so complacent all these years just because they think they have they government's support all the way.

Anonymous said...

There is no problem about jobless graduates...just send them to paddy fields or rubber plantations to earn their keep.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The competency levels of our graduates are atrocious. After hiring scores of engineers, I can tell you we are wasting a lot of taxpayers money producing a whole bunch of crap graduates. My reckoning is more than 90% of our graduates cannot speak decent English. I highlighted this to a senate member of USM a while back and his retort caught me by surprise. He said as long as as person can communicate, it does not matter what language he uses. Here we have a top person in the academia without a sense of reality of the real and globalised world. Imagine sending people on a business trip who can only speak Bahasa! The company will be creamed by our clients and vendors. Najib does not have a good sense of reality either when he was upset that companies were advertising for jobs for candidates who can speak Mandarin. Why shouldn't they when the position needs someone who can transacts business in Mandarin for the company especially for companies operating a lot in China and Taiwan. I think it is time Malaysians get rid of the colonial-chip-on-the-shoulder and silly- nationalism and realize that we need to synch with the rest of the world. I think Tun Dr. Mahathir today hit it on the nail when in response to why Malaysia is behind Singapore, he said "WE LACK QUALITY PEOPLE". Why do we lack quality people? The quality people have been made mediocre and the mediocre people .. well what can I say?

Casper said...

Well, as long as a person can do a job, it really doesn't matter if he cannot speak english. If this is an IT geek job where this guy sits in front of the computer 12 hours a day and never interact with customers, as long as his IT skills is excellent, and have the can-do attitude, what is the problem if he doesn't speak english?

On the other hand, if one has to interact with customers, speaks good english but treats customer with disdain, it would be a liability to keep him/her in my organisation for another second more..

Anonymous said...

It is just not just quality people alone.. It is the system as well, a recognition based on meritocracy. It is tough to work hard and yet at the same time, mediocre people gets all the rewards in our system. That is why most quality people would prefer not to associate with our system (government).

Anonymous said...

Malaysia is not the only country which has problems with unemployed gradutes. Generally, most graduates lack the required work experience that reflects the implementation of 'skills' attained from tetiary schools. A flexible structured education & career path may provide a solution to answering potential employers needs.

For example, the education 'system' provides for profficient literacy & numeracy skills at primary school level. Education at Secondary school must demonstrate practical application relating to industry, not just churning out robots. Career guidance taylored to the individual student's needs can start as early as high school.
Ideally a diploma or trade certificate is enough for industry related skills. then comes at least 2-3 years work experience. Then, Professional development can be furthered by various undergrad & postgrad degrees.
Unfortunately most people think a degree will ensure a cushy job. We can only thank the various 'Unis' local & abroad for a glut & undervaluation of degrees. There is probably contention concerning professional qualifications in the health & judicial sectors without work experience. What ever happenned to required vacation/vocation work required as part of a degree?...
At the end of the day..which ever path it is...hard work, determination,& a bit of 'luck' will determine one's personal success. Some successful people never had a degree, so we hope that Malaysia will will continually be a work in progress...learning from the mistakes of other countries & thier policies...then only can Malaysia impact the world in a positive light rather than the stained progress we have had thus far.

Anonymous said...

Monash Malaysia is just an offshore campus of Monash university and its
degree and faculties are not the same class as Clayton campus. Stop the crap that Monash is top private university in Malaysia.