Jamaica Gleaner / Jamaica currently boasts a literacy rate of 88 per cent, with 19 per cent of the population earn-ing first degrees, educator Denworth Finnikin noted. This is a major increase in comparison to 20 years ago when persons graduating with first degrees were only three per cent. As a nation, Jamaica graduates approximately 40,000 individuals from high schools annually.

Finnikin, the national TVET director at the Ministry of Education, pointed out that though the country is producing more graduates, there are still job vacancies available and persons are still unemployed. The reasoning behind this phenomenon is that even though local employers shortlist and interview applicants with impressive rÈsumÈs and good grades, those applicants are unfortunately unable to perform.

“This is a mockery of the education system. We are putting out more graduates and employers are rejecting them,” he said recently at Northern Caribbean University’s Career Fair 2018.

Finnikin added that graduates have mastered the theory aspect of the job, but are yet to convert the theory into practice. Among the many reasons Jamaicans fail at securing and retaining jobs is the decline in basic employability skills. The skills include, but are not limited to, attendance and punctuality, analytical and interpersonal skills, risk analysis, consistency in development and quality service, and marketing.

“We cannot become a developed country by 2030 if we don’t change our mindset and our attitude,” he stressed.

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