PhD & Master’s Degree Graduates Apply for Eswatini Youth Empowerment Programme

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By Ntokozo Nkambule

The unemployment rate in the country has clearly reached alarming levels, particularly youth unemployment which sits at 58%.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted a media engagement last week at the United Nations (UN) offices to brief the nation on the status of the current Eswatini Youth Empowerment Programme (EYEP).

The UN agency revealed interesting insights- one of them being that they have witnessed that there are some Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master’s Degree graduates who have applied to the programme.

The EYEP is a government-endorsed project which aims to support young graduates to secure a foot in the door, as most employers require some work experience.

Through this programme, young graduates from local and external tertiary institutions will get the opportunity to gain at least 12 months of work experience, thus improving their employability prospects.

UNDP noted during the engagement that one of the reasons they extended the deadline from the 31st of January to 31 March 2023 is because they realized that a number of applications were coming through which includes the aforementioned levels of tertiary education.

Probably most concerning though is that applications from PhD and Master’s Degree graduates imply that those graduates do not have the requisite experience which most institutions and corporations seek when hiring employees.

However, it is worth mentioning that the PhD graduate applicants only constitute 0.05% of all applicants. This means from applicants in the education level category, PhD graduates had the least applicants with the second least being Master’s Degree graduates.

“Bachelor’s Degree holders constitute about 51% of total applications (highest entries) whilst PhD holders constitute about 0.05%. Diploma holders were the second largest group accounting for 21% of total applications, with the third being Associate Degree holders (18%).”

Also concerning is that from the graduate applicants, the UNDP also received applications from 2012, which constitutes only 0.05% of all applicants.

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