In my recent op-ed piece, I delved into the disheartening outcomes of this year’s school leaving examinations, highlighting the pressing need for a comprehensive analysis of the state of education in Ethiopia. At present, impassioned discussions reverberate, seeking to unearth the very essence of the issue that plagues our education system. The resounding question lingers in the air: Where does the lion’s share of responsibility lie amidst the parents, the children, and the education system?
Though all three parties’ bear some culpability, unraveling the primary culprit stands as an imperative step, for it holds the key to resolving half the quandary.
A few weeks ago, a captivating incident cascaded through the corridors of Ethiopian social media, captivating our collective consciousness. It involved the perplexing disappearance of a medical graduate. As her tale unfurled before our eyes, a stark realization dawned upon me, shedding light upon the perplexing dichotomy that engulfs our nation—a plethora of university graduates juxtaposed against a disconcerting dearth of skilled professionals in the job market.
Following her return to the embrace of her family, she was interviewed on the Seifu Fantahun show to shed light on the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.
Alas, her narrative is not an isolated anecdote within the realm of our country’s university graduates.
Her arduous nine-month quest to secure employment in the medical realm spiraled her into the depths of desolation, propelling her to sever familial ties and seek solace in self-imposed isolation, estranged from her familiar circles.
She expressed her once-burning ambitions to soar to great heights, fueled by years of tireless educational endeavors, only to find herself relegated to the confines of domesticity—a bewildering turn of fate that cast her in the role of a homemaker, entrusted solely with the care of her cherished offspring.
Some may argue that she appears somewhat privileged, given her husband’s stable income, healthy children, and comfortable home. They may question her complaints about not finding a job after a mere nine months of searching, while others remain unemployed even years after graduating.
However, I understand her perspective.
The intense dedication that students pour into their studies, fueled by lofty aspirations and dreams, can lead to a profound sense of despair when their hopes are shattered by the inadequacies of our country’s education and economic systems.
In the midst of Ethiopia’s current predicament, where a scarcity of doctors and healthcare professionals persists, it is indeed paradoxical that these very professionals find themselves grappling with a scarcity of job opportunities, hindering them from providing the crucial healthcare services our nation needs.
Isn’t this an ironic twist?
At times, I cannot help but contemplate the role that healthcare graduates, as well as graduates from other disciplines, play in perpetuating the prevailing issue of unemployment and underemployment. Many university graduates are reluctant to seek employment beyond the confines of the capital and other major cities, despite the greater demand for professionals in rural areas, where the vast majority of Ethiopians reside.
In my opinion, this concentration of graduates in urban centers significantly contributes to the exacerbation of high unemployment rates.
However, one thing remains unequivocally clear. As I passionately expressed in my previous discourse, we urgently require a resounding cry for transformative change within both our education and economic systems.
It is imperative that we not only foster a well-trained and professional workforce but also establish an economic framework that can effectively accommodate the influx of eager trainees entering the job market each year. The prevailing paradox must be confronted and resolved decisively.