Maybe they should be driving buses instead!

I have written about the excessive number of doctors we are producing so much so that there are 60 housemen in some wards, almost as much as the number of patients.  we need only about a 1000plus doctors a year, while we are producing 4000plus. And once the ratio of 1:400 is reached, we will be saturated with doctors and that is to be the case in 4 to 5 years time.

Apart from doctors, we are now overproducing radiographers. There are many radiography graduates who are now finding it difficult to find jobs, as the job market is small for these radiographers. By the way, radiographers are not radiologists who are specialists doctors; radiographers are  specialised technicians taking X-rays and processing the x-rays , whereas radiologists read them and give their expert opinion. Because we have so many new universities and colleges producing health-care personnel, radiographers are now in surplus supply and many of them will have to find jobs outside their fields of expertise, like camera salesmen.

Today, we have a report that we are mass producing too many airplane pilots. Read the Star here. Many hundreds of pilots from our local pilot training schools are finding it hard to get a job as airplane pilots. What do you expect these people do? They will try to get jobs outside the country but even so, many of them would not be able to land a pilot’s jobs because of their not- so-good-command of languages. Many of them will have to find jobs in other fields, like driving tourists around,  meaning a waste of talents and expertise. (Someone told me that this may not be a bad idea, for pilots are highly trained  and they are more responsible, and so there will be less tourist-bus accidents like the one that happened recently).

These examples, and there are actually more,  are just symptoms of a serious underlying disease; that our system is not tailoring our human resources to what we actually need, in many of the specialised fields.

We have, in a short span of time, set up too many colleges and universities of all kinds. Well, I am not against setting up ‘good quality’ universities, but the rate these universities are being set up, I really doubt where and how they are going to source for good teachers.

It is  actually OK to produce too many generalist university graduates of science or maths, business,  even liberal arts students–provided that the basic internationally acknowledged standards are met– because these people are not that specialised and by virtue of their more generalised  and broad-baased training, they are more versatile, and that they can adapt to all kind of job conditions.

It is good to have a lot of these graduates as these graduates can slowly and collectively help to raise the standard of our people in terms of innovation, knowledge and  civility. There will be more liberal thinkers , as generally,  the more educated a person is, the more learned he may become and the more liberal and civilised he should be. This is of course a generalisation, and there are exceptions and there are some non-graduates who are very good and innovative.  The fact remains that the better educated the populace becomes, the populace as a whole will advance much faster and be more civilised.

But for those who are being trained to deal with very specific specialties, there must be a sort of meeting-the-demand surveys and projections, before determining how many of these specialised people should be trained, how many colleges be allowed to set up to produce these targeted number and so on.

This is because if the person is very specialised, and he cannot find a job in his field of expertise, there will be a waste of talents and funds. It is  usually  more costly to train such people, and it would be a waste if you ask a pilot to be a bus driver.  Likewise, It will be a waste to ask a radiographer to be a camera salesman, or a doctor to become a barber ( early days surgeons were barbars, by the way).

Moreover, these specialised people, by virtue of their less generalised training, will not be as versatile as the generalist graduates and they might not easily fit in for jobs in fields other than what they are trained for.  For example, I am sure on the average,  a science graduate would be able to handle a teaching job better than a airplane pilot;  a business graduate would be able to handle jobs involving accounting better than a doctor or a radiographer.

What I am saying is that while it is good to produce more graduates, we must be more precise in the production of the very specialised people.

Furthermore, the graduates that we produce must be of good qualities, otherwise it will be like the case of a English speaking neighbouring country, where some of their people working  as maids  overseas have college degrees and so on.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. klm
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 12:19:59

    We are entering a situation like Tunisia. Educated people with no jobs. There is already a problem with 60-70 thousand graduates of some govt colleges not able to find jobs. On top of this problem, we now have graduates from private colleges and universities.

    The future do not look good.


  2. Dr Hsu
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 15:12:23

    Yes, i fear we will be like Tunisia.

    For those not familiar with the riots going on in Tunisia, go to this link here

    I will post part of the news article here:

    The World Bank has estimated unemployment in Tunisia at nearly 15%. Recent university graduates are more severely affected, with nearly half of educated youths still jobless a year after graduating, especially outside the capital Tunis.

    According to World Bank statistics, unemployment affects all graduates, including those with masters degrees, and the number of jobless graduates nearly doubled in 10 years to 336,000 in 2006-07.

    The unemployment rate of technicians from higher institutes of technology (ISETs) was 45%, compared with 53% for non-ISET technicians. Women represent 57% of graduates compared with 43% of young men, but only 38% of women graduates were employed against 51% of men.

    “Unemployment remains a serious problem among young graduates, notably those who graduate with a post-secondary degree, and particularly affects graduates with two-year technical degrees and master degrees which have an unemployment rate that reaches 50%,” the World Bank study stated.

    It showed a serious imbalance between the skills of graduates and the demand for skills in Tunisia, and that the diploma and field of specialty remained the principal factors dictating entry into the workforce. To solve this problem, the study called for graduates’ skills to be better aligned with the needs of the economy, and strengthened assistance for employment.


  3. klm
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 15:47:48

    I read in the Star there are 500 trained pilots without jobs. I was told it cost 500,000 RM to train one commercial pilot license. That means 250M RM down the drain. Someone mentioned that there are not even enough aeroplanes in Malaysia for them to fly.

    Now, I am begin to wonder who provided the funds to train the pilots, private funds or taxpayer funds. I am inclined to believe latter. You know what I mean.

    This is wastage of human resource and money.


  4. CYC
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 16:19:34

    Similarly, who funded Masterskills or MAHSA’s students? The success story of this college is highly suspicious and comes with many powerful links. The objective is to produce knowledgeable graduates or purely driven by commercial fundamentals ? Our situation is no different from “The Great Leaps” during Chairman Mao’s era. Everything seems perfect from outside but scandalous within. Many more Sime Darby fiasco will emerge soon.


  5. foo
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 23:35:04

    As usual our guys managing the country (education,trade /industries and human resourse) are clueless about what the nation needs now or in the future. Why not export our surpluses abroad like The Phillipines exports theirs sailors,singers,entainers,maids and etc. Better earn USD and remit it back to M’sia.
    On the opposite end we are swarmed with foreigners occupying low skill jobs in the construction,manufacturing,plantation,food and service,cleaning and sanitary works and housemaids. Are our people that good or too educated/qualified not wanting to do these jobs? Or is our education system (automatic pass to form 5,even if they can’t read or write) making our people too “good” for these type of work?


  6. klm
    Jan 19, 2011 @ 09:07:25

    High income nation means RM 3,000 a month income. This is the survival income in KL I am wondering if the people in the NKRA etc now realised that the BN govt cannot produce the outcome and came out with this low benchmark.


  7. CYC
    Jan 19, 2011 @ 16:58:54

    Those in the govt are all mentally fused with kindergarten logic. RM3k is good enough for 2 person only, what about the kids? Going by this stupid fool’s logic, residential unit priced at RM150k should be categorised as high end property ?


  8. disgusted
    Jan 19, 2011 @ 17:28:27

    This national locomotive is driven by a snake (PM:Chinese horoscope) and snakes mana ada kaki, no brakes…and nation even going downhill. Cannot stop. But one thing also cannot stop is the by-elections. Another one is looming ahead. Port Klang. The more the merrier.


  9. Albert
    Jan 19, 2011 @ 21:53:15

    In last 12 months, I have had bad experience with capabilities of these radiographers in producing quality X-ray with minimum shootings. In 2 private hospitals in PJ, the radiographers took 5 shots before able to produce the one best picture for the specialist. I told the specialist that I had been over-exposed to radiation but the specialist just laughed it off. Actually this is no laughing matter, and I am sure many patients out there have similar experience. In another case, I went to UH to take a picture of my tail bone. The specialist had earlier commented the X-ray picture I got from outside X-ray centre was not cleared. Alamak, after a few shootings by the radographers, the sole picture given to the specialist (nowadays, the picture is transmitted direct to computer screen of specialist from radographer’s room) was so ‘whitish’ that the specilaist commented such picture being useless. Nowadays, I am having 2nd thought of going to UH again to take X-ray, even though I am pensioner to use facilities of government hospitals


  10. Dr Hsu
    Jan 20, 2011 @ 09:12:50

    This is where by mass producing, we are actually compromising our standard.

    In the old days, there was no special diploma or degree course for rdiographers. They were HAs who doubled up as radiographers, and because they have been doing it day in and day out, these oldtimers were very good and the X rays taken were perfect.

    Many have retired and worked in private centres. Lately, to solve the problems of having too many new radiographers who cannot find work, the authority is stepping in and asked that these old timers be replaced by the new ‘trained’ ones, since the old timers have no diploma or degree to show.

    That is the problem when training specialised people are not tailored to the needs of the society.

    Looking at the issues of these 500 pilots without jobs. How about the many more 500s that will be added to the market each year? Are we buying at least 200 planes a year to accommodate these pilots? If so, the sky will be full of planes in no time.


  11. Dragontaifc
    Feb 07, 2011 @ 11:14:47

    The problem with the Malaysian Education System is “students” were “trained” but not “educated”!. I “trained ” my dog to “shake hand” ;
    “salute” ; “roll over” ; “walk” (on 2 feet) etc etc BUT yet my dog cannot
    communicate with me simply because it can only be trained to do so certain
    tricks but not educated to carry on from there on.


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