THE mass production of graduates in the country is a problem. This phenomenon is a byproduct of our vision to reach developed nation status by the year 2020.
This vision became our goal when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad took office as Prime Minister.
We were expected to reach developed nation status within a 40-year period. It is a noble but farfetched goal.
One of the criteria of a developed nation is its literacy rate. Thus, to achieve this target we started the mass production of graduates.
We were too focused on meeting some statistical need that we forgot the value of a university degree.
What are the problems in the mass churning out of graduates?
Firstly, the value of a degree has diminished. People no longer work hard to graduate and may even mock at it seeing the boy who does badly in high school but graduates with a degree.
Secondly, there are only limited job opportunities. When you produce a huge number of graduates, you will eventually have unemployment.
The quality of graduates produced drops and generally the private sector is reluctant to hire them.
Thirdly, the government is forced to absorb these unemployed graduates.
Having a huge number of government employees will cause the salaries to be low and not much work will be done.
Productivity of the government agencies becomes low and you indirectly promote inefficiency. This scenario is like a double-edged sword.
Finally, a number of these graduates will never be employed by either the private sector or the government. So what happens to them?
Either they resort to crime or start doing “hard labour”. Inevitably, the former takes place.
It is not easy for a man who has been told by a university that you have graduated with a degree to do hard labour despite getting a 2.0 CGPA.
Unfortunately, the mindset of our society ridicules hard labour. Thus, the man with a degree who makes the statistics look good for the soon-to-be-thought-so developed nation, ends up doing hard labour to make ends meet.
Let us not chase some statistics and rush into proving ourselves to other nations.
Let’s take things one step at a time and do what is best for all Malaysians.
As leaders let us look into in detail what are the implications of our policies for the whole country in the near future.
MOHAMAD RIDZUAN ABDAHIR