EghtesadOnline: Iran has turned into a country of engineers. Labor force statistics for March 2011-17 show the ratio of engineering technicians to engineers is 1 to 1.7 in the country.
This comes as, according to Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei, Iran’s industrial regions face shortage of technicians such as skilled welders.
Reports by the Statistical Center of Iran say over the past decade, the number of university students increased by 2.5 times and the share of those between 18 and 60 years with university degrees increased to 23% of the population from 14%.
“Iranian universities have given in to social demands rather than economic demands,” the head of Tehran Development and Cooperatives Foundation, Omid Shan’e, told the Persian daily Shahrvand, adding that the high rate of unemployment among educated people suggests that there is wrong supply for the present demand, Financial Tribune reported.
According to Presidential advisor Masoud Nili, the unemployment rate of graduates in Iran is over 40%.
“Theoretical education outweighs practical education in Iran. Technicians are thrice the number of engineers in other countries whereas in Iran engineers have outnumbered technicians,” Shan’e said.
Employers want graduates with greater technical skills, while universities have remained unchanged, producing graduates in the same traditional disciplines. The result is a consumer demand that is not being met by suppliers and suppliers that are producing something that consumers no longer need.
From 2006-7 to 2015-16, the number of employees with university degree rose from 18% to 30%; the number of high school diploma holders increased from 38% to 41%, and the number of employees with no high school diploma fell to 29% from 44%.
Noting that Iran is among the top five countries with the highest number of engineers, Shan’e said the biggest problem is that there is no link between industries and universities in Iran.
“They are working in isolation from each other,” he said.
Economic expert, Meisam Hashemkhani, said universities have turned into degree-producing factories.
“They have forgotten the fact that students need to learn skills instead of developing delusional self-confidence. University graduates generally have high expectations from the labor market and do not accept the fact that their academic learning isn’t that worthy,” he said.