This meme by Nadun Basnayake, via Sri Lankan Memes, isn’t stunning, but it describes the state of Sri Lankan higher education pretty well. The social contract is basically broken. The more educated you are, the higher you’re unemployment. Basically, if you study hard and do what you’re supposed to, you’ll be screwed. It’s crazy pants.
Seriously, I checked the data from the latest labor thing (third quarter 2011) and unemployment is higher the more education you have. Dramatically so.
|Unemployment Rate||Total||Below O/L||O/L||Above A/L|
The worst result is for women that get educated, and they are becoming the majority in higher Ed. For a woman that has more than an A/Level education, unemployment is 13.7%. What’s interesting, however, is that the overall unemployment rate of 3.9% is much lower than the United States which is currently clocking 8.1%, more if you include people that have completely dropped out of the job market altogether.
Where Sri Lanka does stand out, however, is that it’s one of very few countries in the world where higher education makes you less employable. It’s actually the opposite of the social contract a nation extends its youth, and something is really quite terribly wrong.