18.6 million without jobs in India this year, unemployment rate to stand at 3.5 per cent in 2019

Many would argue that the core objective behind education is to gainful employability. They are not far from the truth. Indeed, many organizations that evaluate the return on investment in education do so on the basis of the employability quotient.

The data with regard to India is, unfortunately, quite alarming.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), India will again see its unemployment rate at 3.5 percent in 2018 and 2019, the same which was seen in 2017 and 2016.

According to the latest data, there will be 18.9 million jobless people in India next year a little more than 18.6 million for 2018.

Quality institutions are less in India
The reason behind this is that India has a small number of quality institutions in the country in spite of the growth in the number of higher education providers.

Consequently, getting admission in the prime institutions is an uphill task as they would, naturally, like to maintain a student-faculty ratio that does not impact quality adversely. A large number of self-financed private institutions have mushroomed to cater to the burgeoning demand and lack infrastructure and qualified faculty.

Lacking aptitude and skills
This impacts pedagogy and the quality of students are literally churned out. As a net result, most of the students are not employable. They lack the aptitude and skills which the employers, particularly in the corporate sector, are looking for.

They become a drain on the economy and India’s, much-touted demographic dividend faces the dire prospect of becoming a demographic drawback.

The big challenge the government faces is how education may be rewired to focus on imparting knowledge that responds to market demand. In Toffler’s words, how can education make students future-ready. Unless it does this, education and employability cannot be correlated.

It would fail to transform lives and create a just and equitable society. Governance, consequently, would have failed.

Creating jobs to match up to the employment rate
It is worth recalling that a recent report by the World Bank (WB) red-flagged India asks to create at least 8.1 million jobs a year to match up to the employment rate of the country. This is a monumental asking, especially because over the past seven decades, education has never truly been a national priority.

Gainful employment is among the grand challenges that India faces. It is critical for India to develop workable paradigms that addresses the knowledge revolution and the challenges the future workforce that would need to address.

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