By Tareq Neman
It is very dangerous to put oil to fire, or to set your carpet on fire to warm yourself, that’s why someone invented the stove. So, the stove is there to warm us during cold nights, but when we use it to cook some sushi we will eat nothing but fish meat with an oil taste. This is what happens when we put things in the wrong place.
When we meet a prestigiously graduated civil engineer sitting behind a wheel, we will feel that something is wrong. It is too much; we will stop thinking or even refuse the idea and accuse him of lying. We will not believe it at first, but after five or ten minutes of high-class conversation we will admit that this man is more educated than we are, and his place shouldn’t be behind the wheel. Rather, he should be drawing and illustrating something that could improve our society and add great value to it.
Ahmad Khalyl, a 38-years-old civil engineer has been a taxi driver for 15 years. He asked me about my profession and I told him. He smiled and said: “Look at me, what do you think of my profession? I said: “I don’t know, you look like an educated man.” He said: “Yes, I am a civil engineer. I hold a master degree in civil engineering, but I work as taxi driver. I haven’t had the chance to use my certificate until now, but I don’t care. It is the time of the young people, I have missed the train. After I graduated from university I tried to have job within the government, but in vain. At that time Syria wasn’t that open to private and foreign investment, so I decided to work as a taxi driver, while I could have worked with the government. And am still waiting! I spent my study years hoping that I would build the most amazing buildings in Syria. I have many projects and layouts on paper, I used to show them to my children. I had many plans to help develop the infrastructure in Syria …. I don’t know.”
Amerrah. H said: “My husband is a pharmacist. He is smart and professional. All our neighbors used to turn to him, even calling him at night in case of health urgencies. But he works as a freelancer for some media agencies. I don’t know why he has adopted this work. He used to say that he regretted all the years that he spent learning; he had thought that after graduation he would help others and others would help him.” We met her husband, who said: “When I graduated I was supposed to pay more than one million SYP to open a pharmacy, while I didn’t even have 3 thousand SYP in my pocket. I tried to get a loan, but in vain. Personally, I am very satisfied today; I earn more than 70000 SYP per month, I know many famous people and I have two cars. I think I am a genius.” When we asked him if he didn’t think he would have achieved more working as a pharmacist, he glanced at the ground for a while and said: “I have lost the motivation. I had great plans to invest in the medical field.”
That was that for those who have found work in the private sector, but what about those who have a certificate and are working for official institutions? We tried a lot to talk to some of them, but they all refused. Finally, I met an IT engineer who was working for the custom department in Lattakia. He said: “I really regret spending 5 years studying the most important science in the world; I completed tones of private courses to develop my skills to be ready for my homeland and to help others. I know four programming languages, I can program and design websites from A to Z, I know how to design and work with three big 3d programs, I have a certificate in networks (installing and maintenance ) and a certificate in (IC3). I had a dream; that I would participate in a big project to improve the reality of IT in Syria, but know I work as a customs broker. I have tried to build my career through the official offices but in vain. I had to leave my field and accept the reality that a certificate is not enough to get a respectful job. I know that there are many people filling positions while not being qualified enough for it… OK, I will say no more.”
Thousands of prestigiously graduated people are facing the same situation. And even worse…
As everybody knows, we have had some problems with employment. Those problems have pushed some people to leave the public sector for other, private domains. That’s why we may meet people who have decided that they would be patient to get their chances, but in the last few years we have not actually made benefit of the great gifted young generation in our country. We have seen the private section getting better because of such magnificent graduated people; they learned how to think, how to create and how to employ their ideas because of their education and the analytical skills they could practice during their long schools and university period. Even if they don’t work according to their educational background, in order to enhance the public services sector we should take them in consideration. We should have mechanisms that allow us to help them, so they can help us. We have a great untapped field here spreading over all domains and everybody knows that the biggest loss that a nation could face is the loss of its great minds. Minds are like oil or gold. Minds are a fortune to every country. We must invest in them as much as we can, because losing them is like spoiling oil into the sea.
In all rehabilitation schools for mentally handicapped, there is a toy called the shape box. This instrument helps to improve mental abilities and to make handicapped people adding to their value, obtaining great communication skills. The main idea of this toy is that the handicapped person should match the objects with their suitable shape in the box, to gain great abilities. Succeeding in this means being ready to successfully communicate with the world and develop his abilities. Isn’t it similar to a certain situation?