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11 agosto 2021

Educational Planning According to Market Demands. Published on Cronista.com

The dire consequences of the Pandemic, aggravated by the local and regional economic crisis and the effects of the political decisions taken during the mandatory quarantine [ASPO], the shutdown of the economy, closed schools and colleges, can now be seen for what they are: actual damage inflicted on students, and especially on those who live on a salary, on periodic income, working hard.

Article by Julián A. de Diego published on Cronista.com on August 10, 2021

Illiteracy meaning the inability to read and write has risen by more than 16% in the last ten years, and what is more worrisome, computer illiteracy is over 70% in primary education and 50% in secondary school. Unemployment among young people aged 18 – 25 is over 25% and underemployment is over 50%.

In addition, the universal requirement to find a job or to start an active career at a public or private, for-profit or non-profit organization is to have a high school diploma. Only 18% of high school graduates go to university or pursue tertiary education. Pseudo-official surveys show that 50% of students do not complete compulsory education levels.

Three out of ten high school students who do not finish high school then take night school classes for at least three more years to graduate with insufficient education levels and very low standards.

More than 35% -and even 50% in some areas- of humanities-oriented high school graduates do not know how to analyze or interpret a text. Math-oriented high school graduates, such as technical school students, need to take remedial courses to develop basic mathematical operations when they start tertiary studies.

Interestingly enough, there is a large number of jobs at the public sector, where the constitutional requirement of job suitability is not met (Article. 14 bis of the National Constitution), and applicants do not have a high school diploma or tertiary studies to fill the position they hold.

Lawyers -just to name a profession that I know thoroughly- usually study aspects of procedural law, but nobody teaches them how the process actually works with the advance of new technologies, where remote computer systems are used. At Law School students are not taught negotiation or dispute resolution, strategy and methodology, when actually the overall legal practice mainly focuses on these issues (two-thirds or more). In general, the syllabus contains traditional subjects that are still attached to an archaic and even outdated model, without introducing the new models and archetypes that they will have to face in real life. Only one in ten lawyers who graduate actually practice law. A clear symbol of this decadence is the existence of more than 50 law schools in the country.

As a result those companies that are returning to the New Normal, thanks to mass vaccination (though still very disorganized) after having gone through the most aggressive stages of Covid-19, cannot find qualified workers who meet minimum conditions of employability.

Just recently, car companies and unicorns linked to exponential technologies have said that more than half of their applicants (in some cases more than two thirds) show up without meeting the minimum requirements to fit the sought-after profile. They have not finished high school and do not speak any foreign language, but are proficient in certain video games.

Remember that to get a job employability is a must, meaning the set of skills, knowledge, competencies and personality traits that an individual should have to enter the world of labor at the private sector, and equally important, if not more so, at the public sector, where political activism and favoritism prevail, often disregarding job suitability in breach of the National Constitution.

Employability entails initiative and proactivity, teamwork, resilience, innovative thinking, capacity to design a model for development and continued improvement.

Those countries that have faced similar challenges, such as Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Finland, among others, have refurbished their whole educational programs in terms of contents and methodologies, turning to storytelling to relate theory and practice through stories coupled with other elements, and combining new technologies and in-person hands-on workshops at universities and tertiary institutions.

At the same time, they have given priority to training modules, valued through a universal system, to improve knowledge in each art, craft or trade, with an emphasis on new technologies and the upcoming artificial intelligence. In the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, many specializations are short-term, and are taught at the most prestigious universities in each country.

Argentina is falling into decay from its very foundations, and for employment to grow it is essential to have a national project whose top priority is growth, and in our case, export promotion for products that are currently demanded worldwide. Financial aid, welfare programs, increased subsidies, is a new way of allocating resources that does not solve the problem of ten million Argentine people who are excluded from the labor market, and are doomed to spiraling down with bitter frustration, getting worse day after day.

Without genuine work, human development is not possible, and the national, provincial and municipal State authorities must provide free education and come up with an educational emergency plan to train according to today’s highly demanding market. Otherwise, this outdated system will keep on failing to provide the necessary tools to land a decent job.

Por Julián A. de Diego
Por Julián A. de Diego

Fundador y Titular del estudio “de Diego & Asociados”.  Abogado, Doctor en Ciencias Jurídicas.

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