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.