Unemployment has become a burning problem in Sri Lanka today. The number of unemployed is increasing day by day. According to a statement of the central Bank the number is around 700, 000 and our of this 55% are females. Also, around 80% of the unemployed are in the rural sector. Unemployment is highest among the age group of 20 – 30 years.
A number of factors prevailing in the society has paved the way to unemployment. Some say that this situation ahs been arisen due to the outmoded education system and lack of skills. The existing curriculum should be changed to suit the present day needs. It appears that there are lot of jobs in the private sector, especially in technical and industrial sector. If lack of skills is the reason for high unemployment in the country, it is difficult to understand how a large number of people found employment abroad. It is not possible for youths to be skilled at the time they are leaving schools or universities. The employers should realize this situation. They should be given a chance to obtain skills only by “on the job training”. This is why most of the employees are recruited as probationers. Arrangements should be made by the Vocational Training Authority, Technical colleges and other institutions to impart these skills to the youths.
When we go through the employment advertisements published in newspapers, it appears that all the employers expect the fluency in English. Almost all the people in Sri Lanka can converse either in Sinhala or Tamil or both. Therefore, English is not essential to carry out almost all day to day activities within the country. Under this situation, most of our rural youths are rejected at interviews due to lack of knowledge of English, even if they are very capable and have very sound educational and other qualifications. This is very sad state of affairs. In order to overcome this problem, it is essential to draw up a special programmed to train the recruits to acquire fluency in English.
It is said that lack of computer knowledge is also another reason for unemployment. But we see a large number of youths who have followed various computer courses, even at recognized institutions, still remain unemployed.
A large number of private sector companies, including garment factories have been closed down during the past few years. This is due to a number of factors including the North – East war. The production in these companies has considerably decreased. The agricultural sector, were there are lot of job opportunities, too has been deteriorated within the past few years.
High rates of unemployment and underemployment have very dire consequences. It leads to poverty resulting in low living standards, malnutrition and diseases and many other social problems.
It is the bounden duty of the government to find ways and means to solve the unemployment problem of the country.
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