Friday, Jul 31, 2020 13:15 [IST]
Last Update: Friday, Jul 31, 2020 07:37 [IST]
Dr. INDRA BIR SINGH YADAV
Skill Development Department
India has the world’s largest youth population but over 30 per cent of 15 - 29-year olds are unemployed, presenting a huge challenge. India’s young population is its most valuable asset and most pressing challenge. It provides India with a unique demographic advantage. But this opportunity will be lost without proportionate investment in human capital development. In India, where job creation has not kept pace with economic growth, finding gainful employment is becoming an increasingly herculean task for educated young people.
At the same time, the world today is more dynamic and uncertain than ever before. As India undergoes rapid and concurrent economic, demographic, social and technological shifts, it must ensure that its growth is inclusive and is shared by all sections of the society. India will not be able to realize its true growth potential its youth is not able to participate adequately and productively in its economy. With competition increasing for the limited government jobs that ensure a secure future and better pay than most private jobs, each time new positions are announced, thousands of young graduates’ clamour to apply.
According to Shri Amit Basole, an Associate Professor of Economics at Azim Premji University, some Indians with more education are willing to stay unemployed longer as they look for jobs that are better suited to their training, which pushes up jobless figures. Meanwhile, India’s education system leaves many other young graduates unemployable, with no skills that prepare them for the competitive market they face after school.
The world seems to be in our fingertips nowadays. There is no doubt that the young generation of the 21st century India is moving ahead of its time, in this digital age. While there are folks who consider the rise of the digital world to be a boon for the youth, there are many others who vouch yesteryears as the golden era. While there are several questions being raised in front of young India about its potential, there are both positive and negative aspects that will determine the country’s future.
There are two inter-related factors which play major role in strengthening the backbone of the upcoming generation, i.e. Education and Employment. In order to understand which skills and jobs India’s young people want, and assess whether the current education system meets these aspirations, the World Economic Forum and the Observer Research Foundation collaboratively conducted a survey of more than 5,000 youth in India.
The results indicate that young Indians are ambitious and show greater autonomy in their career decisions. They acknowledge changing skill requirements and are eager to pursue higher education, undergo additional training and enrol in skill development programmes. At the same time, various factors are blocking their ambitions and preventing them from adapting effectively to the changing nature of work. The survey’s insights can inform policies and strategic action to ensure that India’s young people transition smoothly from education to economic activity.
During interaction with youths of India at various forum like Youth Festivals, Skill Competition Events, Counselling, Advocacy, mobilization, Job Fairs, Placement Drives, the following aspirations/desires are shared by them:
1. Indian youths want to be independent, optimistic and open to a changing labour market. Young people are increasingly seeking productive employment opportunities and career paths that reflect their individual aspirations. The influence of family and peers on the career and educational choices of India's youth is on decline mode.
2. Indian youths want more guidance and career counselling. Young Indians lack readymade information about available job opportunities and skills required for these jobs. They also lack guidance, advocacy, counselling in general and individual psychoanalysis for setting realistic career goals and making professional choices which hold them back.
3. Indian youths want Skilling and Jobs and are interested in pursuing higher education and skills development, re-skilling and upgradation in skills. At present, there is an acute lack of awareness about available government-run skill development programmes. The young people aspire to have re-skilling and upgradation in their acquired skills while on job as well as to have a degree in higher education. They are also keen on other forms of ongoing education and are very interested in participating in a skills development programme. They shared that the increased employment opportunities and higher wages are the main motivators for them.
4. Young India is demanding better healthcare and quality nourishment. With respect to access to good and nutritious food and to information on nutrition and healthy eating habits, the youth want better institutional delivery of these services. Young people experience a range of mental health challenges such as academic stress, peer pressure, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and learning disabilities. As a result, they expressed a pressing need for accessible, non-judgemental, confidential, and affordable mental health services.
5. Young India wants improvement in-school services. Young people want better infrastructure and services in schools. Not only do they want schools to be better equipped with laptops, libraries, and playgrounds; young adults across gender and age groups also asked for canteens serving healthy, nutritious food, as well as clean toilets. They want key health services to be provided at the school itself. This includes check-ups, access to basic medication, and information on contraception, reproduction, and pregnancy. Most importantly, young adults want workshops and trainings on reproductive health for themselves, and for their parents and teachers.
6. Young India wants clean and unpolluted Environment, Sanitation, and Hygiene. An unpolluted environment especially clean air and water was the desire of young people. To ensure that this need is met, the majority of youth shared that heavier fines may be imposed on Individuals, Organisations, Factories, Industries and on those who pollute. Environment friendly Garbage Disposal facility is also aspired by Indian youths.
7. Young India wants good governance and accountability. Young people emphasised on socio-economic equity. It should be participatory, consensus-oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law and better access to information about their rights.
8. Young India wants equity in Gender, Opportunities, Employment etc. Negotiation skills for women is one of the simplest and yet frequently overlooked solutions to improve gender equality in the workplace, particularly on wage matters. The persistence of a gender gap in wages, despite the variation in college majors, hours at work or personal profiles, points out that a solution may not imply only a new labour policy or legislation, but a change in culture. They want access to information around gender identity, women empowerment, and gender-based discrimination, along with institutional mechanisms to help them. They expressed that they need more job opportunities and information, along with access to skilling, in order to build productive, healthy lives.
9. Young people of India want a space where their ideas and contribution are respected. Young people have the mental space to let ideas in. They may feel hesitant because chances are that their ideas were dismissed as silly or stupid in the past by a person who was older or had more authority. They are often labelled as misguided, wild, naive, immature, idealistic, unreliable and lazy. It’s time to move beyond these labels. A young person is a creative being with ideas. We need to acknowledge and respect that. By listening to young people and appreciating their insights, we encourage them to express themselves. They want to speak without having to worry about judgment or rejection.
10. Young people of India want a space where they can share their inner truth and be vulnerable without being judged. Young people of India want to share her/his innermost truth to seek a safe space where judgement is kept at bay, emotions are respected and stories are heard with empathy. They are plagued by guilt right from childhood which holds them back from speaking their mind & taking action. Older people often recount the sacrifices they’ve made for their children and sometimes, the only way for youth to alleviate that guilt is to simply follow the rules.
11. Young people of India want to discover their talents and strengths. This new generation is highly motivated and they are capable of combining the cultural values of the traditional Indian Family with the life of an American Teenager. Young people really want and seek that Societies/Communities encourage them to discover and polish their talents.
12. Young people of India want to make a tangible difference. Nowadays, young people are disturbed by constant negative news, dishonesty, frauds and inequality. They do not have any say in the decision-making processes of governance, public policy, educational curriculum etc. They feel suspicious of a system. They dream of a better world and are ready to make it happen. After all, it is the world that they will live in. They are looking for ways to make an access into the system. As more and more young people begin to see injustice, they are seeking out a space which will help them change their learning and reflections into action.
13. Young people of India want to meet both like-minded and diverse people. Today many young people are looking for a community of people with a similar mindset and values but have trouble finding one. At the same time, they are curious about others who are different than them yet afraid of the unknown. Young people form their groups and circles early in their life. They acquire stereotypes and prejudices through their families, societies and communities. While this keeps them in a mental space of safety, it also shapes a one-sided view of many situations where they tend to regard anyone else who is different as the ‘other’.
14. Young people of India want to experience the world as their classroom. Every young person is a creator, a maker and an innovator. Youth want the world to be their playground. They want to have fun as they learn. They want to have the freedom and choice to forge their own learning path and creative journey. They want to get out of the four walls that surround them, observe the world, listen to people’s stories and have experiences that they’ve never had before.
Today young people of India are more conscious in an era where news comes before the newspaper. There is a delusion in the minds of the students about the importance of education. The learning aura is focussed on examination and jobs rather than knowledge and passion. Every school going student aspires to become either a doctor or an engineer. The irony as of now is that India is producing the highest numbers of engineers in the entire world, but doesn’t fall in any list in terms of innovation and invention.
There was a time when youths could not take a single step without the consent of their elders but now even children are at par with their parent’s update due to the advent of digitalisation which has set a new horizon among the young generation in terms of education as well as employment. The process of e-learning has been adopted as a new form of studying not only by college students but also young kids.
The accessibility to the net has not only widened the options to learning but also opened doors to earning due to the rise of networking start-ups and companies. Technology has really taken the level of communication beyond our imagination. The biggest loss of the digital age is the worth of relationship between people. Since the world seems to be very small today, the saturation point of human relation is getting lowered day by day. As a result, youths of today easily fall prey to frustration, depression and boredom.
It is true that the future of India lies on the shoulders of the young generation. And the current young generation has seen a massive transition in the days of digital transformation. The incredible progress of internet, smart phone and social media are the game changers in influencing the lives of the youths. It will be quite interesting to see how young India would face the challenges of the transforming world in the near future.
1. World Economic Forum and The Observer Research Foundation.
2. The Young India by Shri Anurag Barman.
3. Youth Bol: Making Youth Voices Count.
4. Attitudes, Anxieties and Aspirations of India’s Youth: Changing Pattern survey done by Lokniti in 2016.
5. ComMutiny The Youth Collective (CYC).