Enhancing graduate employability for enhancing the role of higher education in poverty reduction: a gap analysis study with particular reference to private providers operating in Ethiopia
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With the aim to identify and document gaps and good practices for enhancing graduate employability, what private universities doing in Ethiopia and the associated macro environment were assessed with mixed approaches, using qualitative and quantitative data collection. Methods included: an extensive review of literature, examination of official documents and key informant interview at five institutions selected for case study. Document survey results show that since the second half of the 1990s, Ethiopia has been made to have national policies and strategies promoting and supporting the education for employment agenda which needs to be supported by national graduate employability focused policy framework, vision, strategies, programs, guidelines and working group dealing with the matter. Regarding the situation at micro level, it was found that all private higher education providers covered in the study are well aware of the fact that graduate unemployment or underemployment problem has been manifesting in unprecedented way in present Ethiopia. Paradoxically, however, none of them managed to have a full-fledged system function dedicated to the enhancement of graduate employability. Unlike pre-program need assessment, the practice of conducting tracer studies and/or industry satisfaction surveys for identifying the employment situation of graduates and taking the necessary corrective measures with industry feedback and participation was found a rarity. In so far as interventions seeking to enhance graduate employability through curricular, cocurricular and extracurricular activities are concerned, much has not been done in all cases. In nutshell, the agenda of graduate employability has not been given adequate attention at all levels: policy, strategy, curriculum & instruction, research and development. Changing such a scenario will definitely enable the case study institutions produce employable graduates capable of emancipating themselves and others from the yoke ofpoverty.