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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


ROSENBERG, Eureta. Is education blithely producing unemployed graduates? A reflection based on a review of environmental skills initiatives (2016-2021). Journal of Education [online]. 2022, n.89, pp.146-168. ISSN 2520-9868.

A statement from the president of the Black Business Council (BBC) that "our education system continues to produce the unemployed graduates" (NewZRoomAfrika, 2021) because "the courses they are doing are not required by industry" reflects the perennial perception that South Africa's education system is a cause of unemployment. In this paper, I explore aspects of this perception through a meta-review of environmental skills-related studies conducted over the past five years. Data used in these studies include graduation trends based on higher education, employer surveys, analyses of skills needs in the workplace compared to courses offered, and case examples of internships and teacher development. Using an ecological-systems model, I relate the findings, in a layered critical realist analysis, to the socio-cultural milieu in South Africa. I challenge the conception of relevant graduate education evident in the BBC's statement.

Keywords : graduate unemployment; higher education; skills; green economy; sustainability; re-thinking development.

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