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The Killid Group
Educated, but no workWritten by Naseer Behzad
Saturday, 10 March 2012 11:15
Jobs go to people with godfathers, graduates complain.
"The truth is I am jobless. I am rueful that I have dedicated 16 years for studies and now I am jobless. If I had known that I would not be able to get work after I have studied so many years I would never have continued studying. I would rather have learnt a craft."
Harsh as these words are it conveys the desperation felt by Mohammad Kabir, a jobless Afghan youth. Unemployment is a serious problem in the country. Those who can are leaving the country in the hope of finding work, often illegal.
Mohammad Kabir has graduated from a government university. He says he has applied for every job that has been advertised. "But unfortunately my application is not read."
The tragedy is that every year hundreds of students stop studying because universities and institutions of higher learning have a limited number of seats. Those who do graduate like Mohammad Kabir are faced with an acute shortage of jobs. Job seekers have to contend with problems like corruption in job selection, which is endemic in government and non-governmental organistions (NGOs).
Hasan Hasanyar is a graduate student. He has been doing the rounds of offices for jobs without any luck. "For the last four months I have been submitting forms in government offices and other organisations. But I don't have a godfather so I am still jobless." He says finding a job in either the government or in non-governmental offices is not a matter of merit. "It is not based on worthiness or fair competition. Selection is a pretence and restricted to those who have connections."
Aziz Ghaznawee who graduated from the Economics Faculty in the University of Kabul says since the government is not able to provide jobs to the educated, "it should provide an alternative occupation for us."
He says the current system feeds corruption. "Since it is people with godfathers who get jobs, the system prepares the ground for corruption because everyone knows how they have got the jobs. I have been going to government offices in search of work. I have seen graduates from the faculty of agriculture and law working in managerial posts in finance and human resources."
In 2011, roughly 10,000 students graduated, according to the spokesman in the Ministry of Higher Education, Azeem Noor Bakhsh.
Most serious problem
According to law, a student or government employee cannot claim attendance in more than one place. Yet employers demand work experience from job applicants. As Abdul Raheem Hasani, a jobless graduate, says, "When we request government and non-governmental offices for jobs they ask for work experience. When we were students how could we have got work experience?"
Meanwhile, authorities in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs claim they are making serious efforts to find jobs for the educated in government and other offices.
Ali Eftekhari, the spokesman in the ministry, says: "We have a registration programme for the employment of educated individuals. We record all the specifications of applicants and we introduce them according to their profession to offices. For example we sent 60 graduated individuals to communication networks offices who were hired."
Alami Balkhi, a member of parliament, says the government has not been able to create livelihood opportunities and has not paid attention to the employment of the young. "If the problem of joblessness is not solved in Afghanistan, it would be dangerous." He says joblessness makes the youth turn to drugs, to smuggle narcotics or join the opponents of the government, including groups like the al-Qaeda. Some of the young will become illegal migrants to find jobs. There will be social crisis, he warns.