N-E youth push for employment opportunities | Sunday Observer

N-E youth push for employment opportunities

10 December, 2017

Unemployment of educated youth, especially graduates, in the Northern and Eastern Provinces is comparatively higher than in the other Provinces, and the effect too is more acute, as the two Provinces have been lagging behind in economic and development spheres due to the direct impact of the three-decade long conflict.

Associations of Unemployed Tamil Graduates of the North and East have repeatedly staged protest rallies, demonstrations, and sit-in ‘satyagraha’ campaigns, some extending more than three months, carrying placards expressing their distress and seeking employment from the provincial and central governments.

On every such occasion they called off their protests following assurances given, either by government leaders, local political party leaders or government authorities.

A total of 1,200 teaching jobs have so far been offered to graduates in the Eastern Province. Of the 5,200 unemployed in the Province, 300 Development Officer jobs in government departments under the central government have been offered to the Northern unemployed youth out of the total 4,000 unemployed graduates.

Secretary, Northern Province Unemployed Tamil Graduates Society, Perinpanayagam Ramanathan (28) says, being unable to find a suitable job, he now works as a painter of buildings and houses at an average income of Rs.1,000 per day, but that he does not get work regularly. He has completed a Marketing Management course in the Jaffna University, he said. During their repeated protest campaigns, they were given assurances by politicians.

The Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs, under the purview of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, invited applications from unemployed graduates countrywide, to fill 20,000 vacancies of Development Officers for which they applied, Ramanathan said. But so far they have not received any intimation, he said.

According to information he has gathered over 60,000 graduates have applied, from all parts of the country, and they were uncertain about the ratio or conditions under which the government would hold tests and interviews and select eligible candidates from among the applicants of the Northern Province, Ramanathan said.

Authoritative sources of the Ministry of Public Administration and Management confirmed to the Sunday Observer that the applications have been received by the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs but they have not yet been sent to their Ministry for processing.

It may be delayed due to the upcoming local government polls, he said.

State Minister of Education V. Radhakrishnan when asked whether his Ministry would absorb some more from among the North-East unemployed graduates for teaching vacancies in the future, he said the Ministry would consider it at the appropriate stage; but that it was the duty of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) to rise up to the occasion and do everything to find jobs for the graduates.

NPC Chief Secretary A. Pathinathan said, the provincial administration can offer jobs only when available and primarily it is up to the central government to allocate funds for employment-oriented jobs.

In the context that

Sri Lanka is top on the list of Asian countries having the highest number of public sector employees, 1.5 million at the rate of one for every 29 citizens, and that the World Bank is not happy about it, it is not advisable for graduates to depend on state sector jobs.

Funding for employment-oriented private sector projects, including the IT sector, should create jobs for them, he said.