Unemployment vs Lack of Skilled Labour
Unemployment vs Lack of Skilled Labour – the glaring paradox
India is the youngest country of the world with more than 60% of its population falling in youth years. By 2022, the median age in India will be 28 years while it will be 37 in China and US, 45 in western Europe, and 49 in Japan. India’s working-age population stands higher than its non-working age population which is a boon if harnessed well.
But among this mammoth youth population, we have only 4% skilled labour.
Further, UNICEF 2019 reports that at least 47% of Indian youth are not on track to have the education and skills necessary for employment in 2030. This boon will turn into a demographic disaster if an unskilled, under-utilised, frustrated youth population undermines social harmony and economic growth.
Even bigger problem on hand is that education and the industry are nowhere in tandem. The education curriculum is nowhere matching the industry requirements. The education curriculum / programmes in developed countries are job-oriented. In India, we still are nowhere near to this.
Let us take the IT sector for example, the one I am very thorough with. A fresh BCA / MCA/ BE / B.Tech computer science graduates comes out learning programming languages / concepts which are totally out of date as per the IT industry need. We struggle to recruit the right candidates who can ‘learn’ things from the very beginning. So it is an additional burden on the industry to train the recruits from learning the beginning alphabets of IT. What’s more ‘unlearning’ the older concepts is even more difficult.
On one hand, there is unemployment, people are not getting jobs. On the other hand, the industries are facing severe shortage of the rightly trained manpower. This also leads to an additional burden of disguised unemployment in the industry where 2-3 people need to be employed for a single task in view of lack of ably skilled manpower.
This is also unfair to the graduate as he has to give up all he has studied in his degree program and start from ground zero for none of his mistake. In this period when he has to learn again, he has to operate on meager stipends.
Mind it, here I am not talking about experience, the industries are always ready for internship / apprenticeship programs to absorb and train the manpower in their work culture and position based skills / soft skills. It is the lack of the basic skill that glares back.
It is high time that the degree programmes directly cater to the job they align with. It shouldn’t be left with an individual in an abstract manner to what he will do after doing a certain degree programme, he should be aware of the job opportunities before he chooses it. And those job opportunities should exactly conform with the basic skill of this programme.
The education curriculum should be designed exactly in conformance with the Industry needs and need to be upgraded every year or even bi-yearly. Otherwise it is a sheer waste of time, money and energy for both sides.
Once Macaulay broke our education system from which we have not recovered in so many decades. He ensured that our cream talent who could think very well and impact the society, studied for many years and became white collared labourers as engineer / doctors getting exhausted. The lesser ones studied arts and at the max went up to becoming civil servants running the country’s executive & education, the weakest ones studied commerce and controlled the wealth creation / real finance chain of the country. All in all it was a well-schemed devious plan which worked out very well in British favour.
Now all hopes are set on the new education system, let us see how much of this menace and gap gets tackled with its coming into effect. We are yet to know it.