In an interview with African Manager Mohamed Louadi, professor at the Higher Institute of Management and the Mediterranean School of Business (MSB), a specialist in information systems, stressed the need for an intense inter-passing between industry and Tunisian universities.
He justified his call by the job positions requested, which shows that the market needs more and more skilled labor.
How do you see the problem of unemployment in Tunisia?
Here we are talking about a very complicated issue, which did not start today. This is a concern, especially as the unemployment rate continues to increase, reaching 15.4%, with a rise in unemployment of university graduates in Tunisia in recent years.
This is normal since employment is facing several problems.
According to recent reports, there is a major obstacle which is the lack of necessary skills.
At this level, we can rely on the latest national report by the Arab Institute of Business Managers (IACE) on employment at the end of 2015, where he took stock of the labor market.
The report has shown that there are currently 145,000 jobs available, but against companies have not found the sought profiles.
Therefore, jobs exist but there are no adequate profiles to fill them. This comes to show that there is a mismatch between job offer and demand and leads us today to raise the issue of the quality of training. I think this is an important question to which we should give more importance to be able to fill the gaps.
In the field of ICT, a legal arsenal has been set up and a range of measures have been taken. But are there any other recommendations to move forward?
That is true. The proof is that the 11th development plan has dedicated a whole chapter to this promising sector, but several problems exist.
Can you clarify please?
The market needs a workforce that universities are not able to provide, especially with the shortcomings of our system of vocational training.
For this reason, we need more than ever a single strategy to be able to end the thorny problem of chronic mismatch between supply and demand of suitable profiles.
So somehow the same approach adopted before with the introduction of a plan Digital Tunisia 2018, which extends over 5 years and is developed in a participatory and consensual approach.
Digital Tunisia, it should be recalled, aims to generalize broadband connectivity of citizens and businesses and enhance the use of ICT in all sectors.
Other objectives in the National Strategic Plan (NSP) “Digital Tunisia 2018” include also the added value of the digital and the exports of digital.
In the same context, we must do more to strengthen the relationship between the Tunisian economy, the industry and the Tunisian college to meet this challenge.
How to do?
It is time to decide on this lack of profiles requested or quality of the available profiles.
This will require a good dialogue, better communication or an intense inter-passing between the economy and the Tunisian university.
This step requires the institutionalization of a board comprising several bodies including the Ministry of Higher Education, the Ministry of Technology, the Ministry of Industry and perhaps even the Department of Employment and Vocational Training. This could play a strategic role in working to reduce the gap between the real needs of the job market and university education.
In the same context, one must know the expectations that are increasingly demanding. Because needs change and there are jobs that disappear and others emerging.
For this reason, there must be a change in attitude and focus more on skills than knowledge in academia.
Which role could the digital industry play in economic recovery?
It is really economic development itself.
In my view, the economy is equal to digital, considered a very important economic engine. This sector could play a decisive role, especially in transforming the entire economy.