Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

There’s a mismatch between India’s graduate aspirations and job availability

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Mismatch between education aspirations and job availability

Context

There is a huge pool of unemployed university graduates with unfulfilled aspirations. This group of dissatisfied, disgruntled youth can lead to disastrous consequences for our society.

Enhanced enrollment

  • Reservation: The extension of reservations to OBCs and EWS increased the enrollment of students from these socio-economic backgrounds.
  • Increased education institutions: In addition, the massive increase in the number of higher education institutions has led to an enlargement of the number of available seats — there are more than 45,000 universities and colleges in the country.
  • The Gross Enrollment Ratio for higher education, which is the percentage of the population between the ages of 18-23 who are enrolled, is now 27 per cent.

Issues of employment opportunities

  • Unfortunately, the spectacular increase in enrollment in recent years has not been matched by a concomitant increase in jobs.
  •  Employment opportunities in the government have not increased proportionately and may, in fact, have decreased with increased contractualisation.
  •  Even in the private sector, though the jobs have increased with economic growth, most of the jobs are contractual.
  • Worse, the highest increase in jobs is at the lowest end, especially in the services sector — delivery boys for e-commerce or fast food for instance.
  • Thus what we see is a huge pool of unemployed university graduates with unfulfilled aspirations.
  • This group of dissatisfied, disgruntled youth can lead to disastrous consequences for our society, some of which we are already witnessing.

Way forward

  • A reduction in the rate of increase of universities and colleges might not be politically feasible given the huge demand for higher education.
  • Increase vocation institutions: A concurrent increase in the number of high-quality vocational institutions is something that can be done.
  • There are upwards of 15,000 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) in the country currently.
  • Upgrading the existing ITIs, opening many more new ones with high-quality infrastructure and updated curriculum is something which should be done urgently.
  • There is a scheme to upgrade some ITIs to model ITIs.
  • However, what is required is not a selective approach but a more broad-based one that uplifts the standards of all of them besides adding many more new ones.
  • Industry might be more than willing to pitch in with funding (via the CSR route) as well as equipment, training for the faculty and internships for students.

Conclusion

These steps could help mitigate the mismatch between employment opportunities and the increasing number of educated youth in the country.

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