Monday, November 24, 2014

Youth

India has a larger proportion of youth population than the rest of the world, and while Africa is younger, northern Europe is substantially older — the United Kingdom’s youth population is 10 percentage point lower than that of India’s according to the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) State of the World’s Population Report, released on Tuesday said.
This unique position for India, however, will not last long. India is aging faster than the global average and by 2050, the world will have a larger proportion of youth population than India, the United Nations’ population projections show. By 2065, the absolute number of young people will begin to decline.
“Today’s record 1.8 billion young people present an enormous opportunity to transform the future,” UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehim, said in a statement. “Young people are the innovators, creators, builders and leaders of the future. But they can transform the future only if they have skills, health, decision-making, and real choices in life,” he added.
“The emergence of a large youth population of unprecedented size can have a profound effect on any country. Whether that effect is positive or negative depends largely on how well governments respond to young people’s needs and enable them to engage fully and meaningfully in civic and economic affairs,” the report says.
Nearly 13 million young people enter the labour force every year, the Government of India estimates. Simultaneously, 113 million people reported to the Census that they were seeking work.
Moreover, the young people entering the job market lack skills: less than three per cent of young people in high school received vocational education, official estimates show, and India’s higher education enrolment rate is just over 20 per cent. Added to the problem is the quality of that education.
Over half of employers interviewed by McKinsey for a report on skill development in India reported that skills shortage was a leading reason for entry-level vacancies.
Meanwhile, over half of youth interviewed by them felt that their secondary schooling had not made them more employable. “Employers, education providers, and youth live in parallel universes,” McKinsey concluded.

--RUKMINI SRINIVASAN

[ This Article is already published in 'The Hindu'. ]

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