THE CHANCES of Slovak secondary school graduates finding a job that fits their education are extremely poor: only a handful end up doing the occupation for which they actually studied. Experts believe that this needs to change.
“It is unbearable that only 6.5 percent from each year do what they have studied, that 30 percent of graduates end up at [unemployment] offices and that 50 percent of graduates continue their studies at universities,” Jaroslav Holeček, president of the Slovak Automotive Association (ZAP), said in mid June, as quoted by the SITA newswire. ZAP, along with other employers’ associations, is helping to prepare a concept for the transformation of the specialised education sector.
Most secondary school graduates who enter the employment market rather than continuing to higher education come from specialised or vocational schools.
“We are not able to get a job for everybody only via requalification and consultancy,” Branislav Ondruš, Labour Ministry state secretary, told SITA. “This is why we need, in cooperation with the Education Ministry, to re-set the system, especially for specialised education, in order that people leaving schools are able to find jobs.”
Employers’ associations are critical in particular of the mismatch between current graduates’ knowledge and the needs of the labour market.
Professional associations see the roots of the current crisis in the specialised education of the 1990s, when industry in Slovakia re-focused from heavy to light industry and schools were not able to adapt to the new needs of the labour market. Experts also criticise the lack of career consultancy for parents and students at basic schools as well as the system of financing by which schools receive money from the state based on student numbers.