Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Scholarships and Unemployment | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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For many years, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz has adopted a scholarship program with ambitious vision and profound wisdom. The program has clearly benefited thousands of male and female students who enrolled at several universities in the East and the West. These returning forerunners represent the success of the program upon which the nation pins a lot of hope and is in support of its progress. Have “some” people in the private sector, which for a long time used poor level of education as an excuse to avoid hiring [native] graduates, changed their traditional view and welcomed those world-class university graduates to be part of their companies and corporations?

I was driven to raise this question after having met a young man who returned home with a Master’s degree in an important field and who searched high and low for a suitable job. I know another young man with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering who still spends all day looking for work. I am sure there are many others facing the same problem, and the danger lies in the fact that they are the forerunners, so what will it be like for the fresh waves of graduates returning home at the end of each academic year?

I know that a “part” of the private sector in the past resisted employing nationals based on feeble excuses such as poor level of education among our graduates. Labor Minister Dr. Ghazi al Qusaibi, may God cure him, did a lot for this sector but no one can confidently say that al Qusaibi was able to achieve many of his ambitions to limit unemployment or create new jobs. Many corporations in the private sector are still keeping their old personnel, who they defend as if they were Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge graduates. This is nothing more than a psychological condition that has come over “part” of the private sector!

Today, in order not to waste the millions that have been spent on scholarships for the youngsters and to avoid having unemployed graduates, the Ministry of Labor should move on to a more serious and solid stage to replace expatriates with these graduates, whether they studied inside or outside the kingdom, and these expatriates should be the first to understand our situation especially as the excuse the private sector used for long time about the poor level of education is no longer valid.

I believe this situation needs to be settled immediately, as we cannot afford to wait for the slow and gradual results of nationalizing jobs, whilst universities produce thousands of [native] graduates every year.