Tough times ahead for India’s young people have the potential to translate into hard times for the nation’s social harmony and peace.
Earlier this year, newspapers reported that 992 PhD scholars, 23,000 M.Phil holders, 2.5 lakh post-graduates and eight lakh graduates were among the nearly 20 lakh applicants for exams conducted by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) to fill 9,500 posts of typists, village administrative officers (VAO) and stenographers. In late March, it was reported that over 2.8 crore people applied for about 90,000 jobs in the Indian Railways. Even more recently, two lakh applicants – including 423 with bachelor’s degrees in engineering, 167 MBAs, 543 postgraduates in commerce, 28 with BEds, 34 masters in computer science, 159 M.Scs, 25 with bachelor’s degrees in mass media and communication, and 167 BBAs – applied for 1,167 jobs of police constables in Mumbai.
Clearly, much is not well on the job market front even though there are claims by the government that the problem is not one of missing jobs but missing data on jobs. The challenge of jobs is especially acute because of the current and growing size of India’s young population
At one time, it was widely believed that India’s young population was a fantastic asset and would reap a handsome demographic dividend. Now, it is commonly acknowledged that India’s future is more uncertain and questions are being asked about the kind of economic contribution its young population can make. Half of India’s 1.3 billion people are below 25 and two-thirds are under 35. And they are desperately looking for jobs.
In theory, India’s young population should reap a demographic dividend for the country. However, for that to become a reality, two things are necessary. First, India’s young should be capable of doing the jobs that are available in an era where advances in science and technology are bringing about dramatic changes in the kinds of jobs that are becoming available. India’s education sector – both primary and secondary education