Disruptive change in education could help us tackle joblessness

Source: The post is based on the article “Disruptive change in education could help us tackle joblessness” published in the Livemint on 20th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 and GS 3 – Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education and Employment.

Relevance: About the education needs and India’s labour market.

News: Recent estimates suggest that India will need to create about 200 million jobs in the next decade to fully absorb the backlog of unemployment (and underemployment), i.e., about an additional 20 million jobs per year.

What are the key concerns of India’s labour market?

According to the author, the employment challenge in India is a man-made problem attributable to two types of policy distortions. a) Industrial regulation and b) Education policy.

Industrial regulation causes: 1)Slow growth of employment, 2) Low employment intensity of GDP growth and 3) Low labour force participation rate, especially among women.

What are the education policy-related causes of India’s employment challenge?

1) Only a small fraction of the Indian workforce has the educational foundation required for highly skilled, high-productivity jobs, 2) The education levels of most Indian workers enable them to acquire only low skills suitable for low-productivity jobs, 3) Barely 5% of the workforce have any skill training and only 2% have any formal skill certificate as compared to over 70% in advanced European countries like the UK or Germany and as much as 80% in East Asian countries like Japan or South Korea, 4) India’s long-standing neglect of primary and secondary education has limited the access to quality basic education, 5) The share of public expenditure on education in India, around 14%, is about the same as the Asian-country average. But its allocation has a sharp bias. For instance, Universal primary education (>90% net primary enrolment) was only achieved in India during the past decade but most countries in East and Southeast Asia had already achieved this goal over 50 years ago. Further, the Annual State of Education (Rural) reports (ASER) show that learning outcomes still remain abysmal.

What needs to be done in education to improve India’s labour market?

Education is primarily a state subject. Unlike welfare schemes and other popular issues with immediate poll pay-offs, education programmes take time to show results. But many of such required changes are embodied in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

Some states have begun showcasing their performance on education and other public goods, and voters have been rewarding them. Such rewards will force all the state governments to focus on the service-delivery performance of education.

 

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