ZAMBIA, like any other developing country is in a hurry to develop economically to convalesce the living stands of its citizens.
But to do that Zambia will need trained people to be employed in various sectors of the economy and the need therefore for industry-ready graduates cannot be over accentuated.
Not only does Zambia need such graduates, but quality too is a critical ingredient because companies want industry-ready graduates who can quickly contribute to their business.
Zambia, without doubt, badly needs such alumnae who can hit the ground running as they are particularly important for Smaller and Medium-Sized (SMEs) businesses, the engine of the national economy.
We have heard about low-caliber or half -baked graduates who are supposedly slowing down our economic development because of their pitiable output. This should not be allowed to continue.
Two key aspects of developing industry readiness are preparing graduates to solve real, rather than academic problems, and giving them experience of a range of industrial working environments.
This means that Zambian graduates from our universities both public and private, should attempt to up their game so that they produce high quality graduates to help grow the industry for the benefit of mother Zambia.
We cannot therefore agree more with University of Africa (UoA) head of business and development studies Chungu Kabaso, who has declared that it is the core mandate of higher learning institutions in Zambia to produce graduates who can hit the ground running and fuse into industry.
Mr Kabaso righty says the industry as well as the economy at large has already loudly voiced the need for industry-ready graduates.
“The industry, and the economy at large, has spoken, and it wants skills that can respond to the needs of today and the future. It is our job as higher learning institutions to give them just that,” he says
“The potential benefits of getting students industry-ready are well-established by multiple studies in different disciplines, indicating that this approach has huge potential to dent the high employment levels,
“It is for this reason that the University of Africa has designed the industry-ready pathway programme for our under-graduates. The overarching objective is to prepare them for specific industries through intense exposure as they work towards graduation,” he says
In a nutshell, this means that our national higher education vision should be to promote the development of industry-ready graduates, scientific research and innovation in efforts to make universities more responsive to the country’s development needs.
To achieve that, we think Zambia’s higher education foresight should focus on enhancing access, quality, equity, relevance, governance, postgraduate training, research and development, funding.
That way the number of college or university graduates roaming our streets or looking for jobs will be a thing of the past.
Therefore, the importance of industry-ready graduates is enormously crucial because it interacts with a range of people having to deliver useful insights in a short time frame.
We also think that way, industry will project throughout its course, giving graduates the opportunity to develop new skills and confidence in an industrial context.
The onus is therefore on our higher learning institutions to center on industry-ready training to prepare their graduates for a crucial role of developing both their professional and practical skills.