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Employability of University Graduates

The 21st Century will be marked by increasing reliance on technology to address growing concerns about diminishing resources and sustainable development. The economic crisis in 2008-2009 has heightened the need for competent human resources to help recover the losses. As repositories of valuable human capital, universities face great challenges in contributing to economic development in times of such economic downturns.

Furthermore, the rapid rate of change and development of new technologies means that education programmes must keep pace with the knowledge and skills demanded by employers. The kind of skills needed and how universities can help to foster these skills has not been fully addressed by policy makers. With a forecast of increasing unemployment, unless the economy rebounds soon, it is crucial that universities equip their students with appropriate knowledge, skills and aptitudes to be more competitive in a shrinking labour market.

An activity of the ICT for Accessible, Effective and Efficient Higher Education Project, with the support of the Japanese Funds-in-Trust, is a research study to address these issues.

An experts meeting was held in Penang, Malaysia on 11-12 February 2009 to lay the ground work for research on the employability of IT graduates. A research framework was developed to analyse how universities prepare their graduates to meet labour market demands in selected countries in Asia: China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. National researchers were commissioned to conduct the study, and draft reports are expected to be submitted at the end of 2009.

The results of this study will provide useful and practical suggestions for universities to consider and adapt the design and development of their curriculums.