Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Unemployment and College Education

Many young college graduates in Korea are now unable to find work. The bishop writing for the Catholic Times on economic problems in society discusses this serious problem. Judging from the coverage it's receiving from the mass media, it's not difficult to surmise that it's not only a present problem but one that will influence the future of Korea.  

In the past, the problem existed,  but   today we have the colleges trying to help the students to study with an eye on their future work. Consequently, learning has taken second place to finding a job. Colleges are rated on the number they have that are able to find work.

In 2011, 83 percent of students graduating from high school went on to college, a figure you would not see in the developed countries of the world. But business enterprises in Korea do not need more college graduates; more jobs are needed, which will require the unified efforts of government, society and the business enterprises.

Government and politicians alone will not solve the problem. In fact, the bishop mentions government as being partly responsible for the problem by giving permission during the past 10 years for establishing more than 90 new colleges. Though the opening of so many colleges can be seen as a successful development, the supply of qualified job applicants has outstripped demand, and we are seeing the unfortunate results:  decrease in pay, internship contracts, short-term contracts, and even, according to some, young people not caring to work for the  small and medium-sized businesses. 

When the needs of the market decide what will be taught in colleges, another unfortunate result--regrettably overlooked by many--is less interest in the search for truth.  
If this concern for finding employment continues to trump our search for truth, leading inevitably to more specialization in the classroom, it will not bode well for the future of the country. When the need to learn the fundamental truths of life takes second place to financial profits and status in society, the foundation of society, which is sustained by these basic truths, will crumble. We will forget the truths founded in God of conscience and morality and, instead, become players in a game of monopoly where everyone loses no matter how large the bank account. As Christians we must do what we can to see that this does not happen. 

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