Where are African Graduates in the World?admin 3rd June 2018 0 COMMENTS
According to a recent OECD research, the share of young adults between the ages of 25-34 who have tertiary education in OECD and G20 countries grew from 17% in 2005 to 22% in 2015 and it is expected to keep growing. In China and Latin American countries, a growth of more than 2.5% per year is expected while that of North American countries and the Russian Federation is expected to be less than 1.5% per year. North American countries and the Russian Federation already have 48% and 60% of their population tertiary educated. In 2015, China and India together made the top with 40%, while China is likely to decrease due to the fall in population. India alone is expected to account for one-fifth of the 25-34 tertiary-educated population.
These two countries are also likely to lead in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) as more than 30% of their tertiary educated graduates are in these areas. This trend is very promising for the India and China graduates as STEM degrees are increasingly becoming very important in the labour market. Graduates in these areas are more in demand, more likely to find a job and receive higher pay than their counterparts in other fields. The positive trend in these countries can be likened to the demand for skilled labour due to technological changes and government financial policies in promoting access to tertiary education.
Africa is home to the youngest population (aged 15 – 24) in the world and most countries in the sub-saharan region still struggle with basic and secondary education. The governments need to develop ways to harness the potential of the teeming youthful population to ensure growth and prosperity of the continent. They should begin to critically analyse and explore the policies already implemented by China and India that brought about the positive trend. The challenge will be to ensure that graduates with tertiary education, no matter how small the numbers are, possess the skills necessary to meet the needs of the labour market. Special focus should be placed on STEM due to the growing importance in various aspects of the economy. This will give African graduates a chance to compete with others in a world that is getting more interconnected, interdependent and globalised. In addition to having the right skills, these policies should also seek to increase the percentage of young people with higher education. One way might be to make secondary education free and universal in order to increase higher education enrolment leading to a higher percentage of graduates.