24 Jun 2017
Writer: Ali Arash

Not even a graduate

An alarming 50 percent of government employees fail to pass the minimum educational qualification level test. An investigation.

Every year, roughly 45,000 graduates join the workforce from private and government institutions. They are eligible to apply for jobs in the public sector where a bachelor of arts or sciences is the basic educational qualification.
Yet, of the 9,141 people who were recruited by ministries and government offices last year, 2,534 were merely high school graduates.
Killid has found out that 77.5 percent of the 399,574 people working in the civil service are male. The percentage of women civil servants decreased by 0.3 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year.
Further, while 268 employees had a PhD, 4,804 masters' degree, 55,157 bachelor degrees and 237,305 had only cleared high school. An estimated 12,255 government employees were not able to provide authentic proof of their educational qualifications.
When there are so many students completing their undergraduation every year why are they not getting government jobs?
Authorities in the Commission of Administrative Reforms and Civil Services that monitors recruitment in government offices say few people with graduate degrees apply to join the government because of the prevailing low salary levels.
Sayed Hashmatullah Hashemi, acting head of the government's capacity building programme, points out that educational qualification requirement vary according to the grade an individual wishes to join. For instance, under article 8 those who join in grades 1 and 2 must have at least a bachelor's degree; for grades 3 and 4, the minimum qualification is a baccalaureate.
Moreover, there is more job opportunities in insecure provinces but since most of those who go to college are unwilling to apply, the ministries concerned have had to scale down the educational qualification levels. Only 10 percent of undergrads get government jobs.
Hashemi says the Commission of Administrative Reforms does not have details about 9,141 people who had joined government posts last year. Taher Ayub, head of Human Resources in the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, says every ministry submits details of how new staff were hired including the names even of those who were shortlisted and, also took the exam for the posts.

Jobless Graduates
The irony is that a majority of educated Afghan youth are jobless. Over the last three years, 80,000 new undergraduates have joined the work force.
Faisal Amin, spokesperson for the Ministry of Higher Studies, says some 68 programmes for masters and doctorates are offered by public and private universities every year.
Abdul Fatah Ashrat Ahmadzai, spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD), claims the government of national unity has been able to check unemployment. With the launch of some employment generation projects, joblessness has been reduced by 6 percent. The ministry estimates that 1.9 million Afghans are jobless, while 1.4 million have work just to survive.
Lutfullah Rashed, spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), says the ministry advertised for the post of one driver, and was deluged by 80 applications. For a post of an employee in its archive section, a grade 6 job, there were 312 applicants with different educational levels.
Government jobs are advertised on job sites like ACBAR. Ahmad Tamim from ACBAR says at least 30 new jobs are advertised every day on the website. On the average, daily 3,000 people visit the site looking for jobs.
The Commission of Administrative Reforms and Civil Service says that 500 posts were advertised by the office issuing electronic identity cards – the minimum educational qualification was a bachelors degree – and 25,000 people applied.

An alarming 50 percent of government employees fail to pass the minimum educational qualification level test. An investigation.
There are questions about transparency in the process of hiring people in government jobs. There are complaints about corruption, nepotism and the outright sale of the job to the highest bidder.
Masihullah, a graduate from the computer science faculty in Kabul University, says there is no need for students to go for higher studies since jobs in the government go to people who have the money.
Feroz Khan who is a graduate from the faculty of economy, Balkh University, says he graduated a year ago and has sent countless applications to government offices for jobs but he is still unemployed. He says he is so desperate now that he will take any job in the government that he gets.
Mohammad Husain Atlas, who has graduated in sociology from Kabul University, three years ago, is still knocking on government doors for a job.

He claims that he has passed 20 exams for jobs in the government, but hit an unscalable wall that of corruption. He says government jobs go to people who have someone who will help them. "I was taking an exam for a government post when the examiner came and asked me why I was taking the exam. I told I wanted to get a job. He smiled and told me that jobs can be got only with mediation, and if I don't then I should not put myself in unnecessary trouble," Atlas says.

Afghan lawmakers are also sceptical about the hiring process for government jobs. Chaman Shah Etemadi, Member of Parliament (MP), says merit, knowledge, working and educational capacity are not considered at all. He says that "mediation" either through the exchange of money or contacts can land you a job. Sakhi Mooshwani, MP from Kunar, agrees.



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