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Graduation ......

The perfect Disqualification

We have a lot of Institutions that give away Computer Science and Information Technology degrees. Yet with all the bachelors of science and bachelors of technology passing out each year, the ICT industry complains that they can't find the people they're looking for. Ironically the graduates (who are supposed to be the cream of the crop) are sitting by depressed and blaming everyone else for their unemployment.

We can sit here all day and debate over who is right and who is wrong. We can pass the blame to various groups or individuals (I've probably hanged the education minister a thousand times) but that won't make a big difference either. So comes the important question: where have we gone wrong?

A match made in heaven

The matchmaking process is never meant to be easy. It's hard to find someone who can fulfill all your expectations, it's even harder to find someone worth the time and effort, and it's definitely close to impossible to find someone who can share your values, dreams and expectations. (sigh!)

But still there are a lucky few who find the perfect match. My last electrician is a good example. After the briefing of what needs to be done, he started asking me the questions. "Sir, how about fitting a telephone extension and how about stretching the antenna cables through the walls?", "Is that spot in the garden made for a statue? How about we wire a spotlight there?" Now this guy was not the conventional electrician who followed the book and obeyed the rule 'you tell, we fix'.

He was honestly interested in his job and he was showing that he really wanted to do a complete job and help me out.

How did he achieve that? As the sales experts would say, he was selling 'solutions' -not only providing his technical ability. He was also well read in his area and was a broad thinker and was able to express his professional ideas without constraint. He was creative in using his ability to an extent that I would've hired him even if he didn't know a thing about Faraday's laws.

So while a lot of electricians complaining about the lack of work, our little hero finds himself in a situation where he does several dozen jobs at once. Now take a wild guess at where our graduates stand when comparing with him....

Food for thought....

The other day Dr. Thrishantha Nanyakkara - the Sri Lanka Inventors Commissioner- pointed something very interesting. "Our country lacks kitchen innovativity". The recipes that the mothers share with their daughters are carried out exactly to the last letter without experimentation. (Guess there are a lot of good girls out there....)

"In other countries there's always something new done with the food," says Dr. Thrishantha. "When children come into the kitchen they see their mother doing something new with the food and in turn from early childhood they learn to do something new."

Dr. Thrishantha's statement has a lot of depth to it. Even though the west is being overthrown by a highly addictive fast food culture, they make these homemade recipes once in awhile - from blueberry and raspberry pies to the infinite array of potato based foods- and that make all the difference.

The point is all these small things -culture, environment, attitude, influence- matter in molding a graduate. Education is not the only thing. So the failure of the graduates as a whole is a sign that the system is failing. And if we are going to blame anyone, the finger should first be pointed at us.

(comments are welcome at [email protected])

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