September 8th is International Literacy Day observed by all UN member states like Uganda. It is a global celebration of literacy and it’s importance to individuals, communities and societies. LinkmeUg is focusing on the literacy ability of today’s job seekers. Literacy is not just the ability to read, speak, write and understand but also your knowledge of a particular subject or field.
LinkmeUg’s talked to a Human Resource Officer Mrs. Menya Priscilla, from BRAC-Uganda, and Mr. Fagil Mandy an educationist on the literacy skills of Uganda’s young workforce and how to improve the situation.
We asked the HR to share her experience with today’s interviewees and how to go about with an interview as a fresh graduate.
When are literacy skills relevant?
HR: I will begin with aptitude tests. They are a set of questions to assess a person’s IQ- Intellect, reasoning and accuracy. We usually use this test to eliminate the big numbers which apply for jobs ranging from Mathematics, Chemistry, History, Politics, Geography; they don’t test personality and skills; it’s IQ, speed, accuracy, reasoning among others.
Get to know your current affairs pretty well because no employer wants an individual who isn’t up to date with the world’s affairs – remember this organization operates in the world, so they need to know how much you know about the market, surrounding, etc.
Expressing yourself in an interview
HR: An interviewer listens to how you express yourself to know if you have the skills they are looking for. Employers looks for these skills;
- Honesty and integrity
- Team Work
- Resilience (can you work even when the going gets tough)
This is where your literacy skills come in. How you approach the questions, the grammar you use, statements like, “you Guys”…”i aint.” and the other slung youth use today can make an interviewer loose interest in you. The interviewer needs to know what you can do; let the interviewer be satisfied with your explanations and answers.
Mr. Fagil Mandy the educationist on his take on today’s job seekers.
Mr. Fagil Mandy: The school system has done our students a disservice. A typical youth today can’t even be heard when s/he speaks, they are physically weak, lack emotional strength, don’t have skills, and are neither curious nor adventurous.
What are employers complaining about?
- Poor attitude towards work
- Poor time keeping
- Inability to write simple reports
- Poor English [spellings, grammar]
- Failing to understand documents
- Low team work
What are Uganda’s options to poor literacy among young workers?
Mr. Fagil Mandy: Job seekers should identify their literacy challenges and train themselves in the skills they are lacking. For example poor speakers should listen to good communicators and try to practice speaking better. Practice writing down your points and saying them out loud.
Employers must retrain workers because that is what our institutions churn out; foreign workers are very expensive.
Our system needs to give more skills to young people. Institutions should increase the amount of time spent on internships and parents should attach their children to mentors to teach them some apprenticeship and other skills.
By: Sharon Muzaki
Online Media for Youth