What should we do when our country runs out of wise professional graduates?

JOHN VIANNEY AHUMUZA

Recently, a group of fresh graduates from one of the public universities in Uganda paraded themselves in their graduation regalia around some major roundabouts in Kampala City. They were holding placards with an inscription that read, ‘What next?’ A few of us who witnessed this shocking drama wondered what has become of our graduates of late.
To begin with, every university must provide its learners with innovative and critical thinking skills. Whereas it is claimed by Uganda National Bureau of Statistics that about 83% of the youth in Uganda are unemployed regarding the formal sector, this does not necessarily mean that the country has run out of employment options. The truth of the matter seems to be the fact that our society has run out of potential wise professionals. What is apparently over circulating society is a sea of knowledgeable professionals!
Let’s consider this group of graduates that gathered all their strength to demonstrate about unemployment hardly a month after their graduation. Would such professionals in case they were recruited in formal employment deliver anything with minimum resources available? Would they even tolerate any remuneration delay in case of any technical challenges?
My opinion is that once any person attains a degree at any university, they should be in position to always have a starting employment point let’s say informally in the business sector. Agriculture has also become very lucrative. In case one is not interested in direct farming, they could use attained campus entrepreneurship skills to act as middlemen in the trade chain. What has, however, blindfolded us from these opportunities is the current attitude of ‘spoonfeeding’ students with excess needs in almost all levels of education. For instance, in some schools especially at secondary level, it has been often reported that some parents negotiate for marks on behalf of their children in order to have them skip demotions. In other cases, parents and sponsors of university graduates splash exorbitant graduation parties with budgets enough to kickstart a cottage industry! Probably these funds would have been used to kickstart businesses as transitional vessels into formal employment at a later stage.
All this requires wisdom. But what then is wisdom? The online dictionary defines wisdom as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise. This is the art that king Solomon applied to judge a controversial case between two women who were disputing an infant. Whereas the same case had been presented to other authorities, no breakthrough had been achieved due to their reliance on legal knowledge!
To sum it up, any education that does not trigger learners to be wise is indeed incomplete. No wonder the same dilemma is apparently facing potential marriage relationships. Whereas many single ladies and gentlemen continue to authoritatively debate the concept of an ideal relationship, it is for a fact that a few wise ones have managed the art of sustaining relationships to meaningful marriages! As Plato, one of the ancient classical Greek philosophers, put it, it is always “Appetite of souls overrunning reason!”. This is a niche UCU has continued to provide by offering, ‘A complete education for a complete person’.

The author is a Foundation Studies lecturer, Uganda Christian University