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Countering wrong messages

Feb 28,2019 - Last updated at Feb 28,2019

Over the years, our society has, inadvertently and out of good intention, sent a series of wrong messages to its people.

These have become highly problematic now, as we are no longer able to deliver on the promises which they carry, especially during these difficult economic times.

One such message, which has become very troubling and which bodes ill if it is not promptly and effectively addressed, pertains to employment: namely, that it is the business of the state to provide jobs to people.

One understands, of course, that it is the responsibility of governments to do all they can to enable the people to enjoy the benefits of good living.

Specifically, they are expected to draw up plans and implement schemes which stimulate economic growth and increase investment opportunities for the purpose of job creation, both in the public and private sectors.

One key indicator of a government’s success, in fact, is its ability to increase job creation. This is of particular importance to a country where population growth is relatively high and there has, therefore, a continuous flow of university graduates into the job market.

It is also the government’s responsibility to reform and develop the educational system, both at the school and university levels in order to align its outcomes with workplace job requirements, be it inside the country or outside it.

And the government is expected to keep cordial and cooperative relations with countries in need of human resources and sign agreements with them, in order to encourage, facilitate and secure employment opportunities for its citizens in these countries.

The list of what governments can and should do is quite long.

But it is not the government’s responsibility to employ people, especially when the public sector is already saturated with employees.

Neither is it its responsibility to look for and find jobs for people.

The regrettable thing here is that the government has, as prefaced, given this impression, and continues to do so.

This has got to stop.

Reliance on the government in this very context is counterproductive.

People, instead, should rely on themselves, capitalising on their know-how and their skills and seeking job opportunities, small or big, in the public sector, in neighbouring countries and in the international community. Wherever jobs are to be had, they should be there to get them. They, relying on themselves, should leave no stone unturned.

This is what citizens of other countries, rich and poor, are doing. And our citizens should be no exception.

Self-reliance is a great asset, and many of our graduates are capable of coming up with entrepreneurial projects and creative initiatives which enable them to make a living.

They are capable of thinking inside the box and outside it. And they can fend for themselves, if they are weaned from this unwholesome complacency and unhealthy reliance on government.

One is not saying this to absolve the government of its responsibilities.

Far from it, as the purpose is twofold: Enable the government to focus on what it is supposed to do, and not what it is forced to do, and enable the people to be assertive and proactive, in the words of Tennyson, “to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield”.

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