What ‘O’ Level internship in dying economy?


PLANS by the government to introduce an internship programme for “O” Level students are, at face value, very noble.
Much of that time had been used idly by most of these youngsters as they awaited their results.

But we are tempted to agree with former Education minister David Coltart that such plans are probably ill-timed and their success cannot be guaranteed in light of the current crippling economic situation.

So, this plan is only good and solid on paper, but its implementations is likely to hit a brick wall.

It would appear that this proposal was not properly thought out, and it will suffer the same fate of many of the government’s blueprints that are very solid on paper, but almost impossible to implement.

While it is comforting that this kind of a plan has been successfully implemented in countries such as Germany and Singapore, the worry is that the state of our economy is nowhere near the vibrant economies of those countries.

Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora recently announced plans to introduce the programme to benefit students awaiting their “O” Level results to enable them to acclimatise with the workplace environment.

We all know that since Dokora took over that ministry, he has reduced it into a virtual circus with some of his ideas, and this is just like one of those ideas.

It is good that the ministry’s draft curriculum has provisions for continuous assessment and course work grading of learners as opposed to the current examination-based grading system.

But the question that would naturally arise is: Does our comatose local industry have the capacity to absorb all those thousands of “O” Level school-leavers?

It is an open secret that most companies are scaling down their operations and trimming their workforces, never mind those that have already collapsed in the heat of this economic crisis.

Many questions also arise over the legal framework upon which this ambitious programme would be run.

Most tertiary institutions currently set aside one academic year for industrial attachment, but some students have complained of being overworked and in some cases, failing even to secure the places for industrial attachment in the first place.

Teachers are another factor to consider in this matrix. How are they going to be compensated for the extra work when they are already being underpaid? This is nothing short of daydreaming, if a spade can be called a spade.