For the last few days, the popular media is flooded with news of talented youngsters doing extremely well in their first major test of life: the Boards. Candidates from remote corners of the country as well as those from humble backgrounds have proved that nothing is unachievable for the willing.
Also, in states like West Bengal, the number of successful candidates from non-science streams has also increased bay far which gives the impression that education has diversified more today. It's no more the fact that those who study science are the 'Brahmins' of our education system.
Now, even as we celebrate the success of these youngsters and wish them luck in their future endeavours, one can't help but ask the question: Are we ready to accommodate this massive pool of human resource in our economy? Can Prime Minister Narendra Modi promise that each of these success stories will go on to touch the sky?
This is a question which will make the drivers of the nation uneasy for sure. While Modi often says with pride that India is a young nation which harbours the dream of becoming a world beater, how much is his government doing to ensure that the youths who are emerging for the job market after a successful stint in education can fulfil the dreams of their lives? Does India have enough high-quality institutions either to facilitate the career growth of these talents?
Reshma Singh, a student from a reputed institution in Kolkata who came out with flying colours in her Class 10 examns this year, summarised it well. "Even after getting over 96 per cent marks, I am not sure whether I will get admission in a good college or university. Getting a proper job is not even in my mind at this moment," she told IB Times, India.
Pratham Chavda, another student in the city who got high marks in Science but wants to study English, told IB Times India: "I want to read further in English literature. But it seems I have to go for science since I got more in that subject." What a sorrow!
We have made education job-centric but are there enough jobs?
Indians have made education a job-centric quest and if that end is not ultimately served, then the means do not serve much purpose and can only cause more frustration among the youngsters. The BJP had in the past mocked the previous Congress-led UPA government that it could not improve the jobless growth despite vowing for it in its poll manifesto.
Are we letting the successful down?
- The idea of education has changed much now. It's not that science is the only productive stream that students go for now. But are we catering to those who want to pursue an unconventional career dream?
- Are we creating enough seats in colleges/institutes to accomodate the students who are qualifying with distinction?
- On the question of jobs, are we equipping our markets to absorb the fresh talents?
- The political class is busy indulging in blame game but there is no collective effort to make the future safe for the later generations.
- The Modi government has stolen the show on many occasions in its three years but the scenario in the job sector has remained bleak.
Modi has only spoken but hasn't done anything better on jobs
In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Modi, the then PM candidate of the NDA had said in a rally in Agra that if they were elected to power, it would create a crore jobs and show the UPA how things are done.
In 2016-17, the Economic Survey based on the data of the labour ministry described the job growth as "sluggish" and the ministry's data even showed that the unemployment rate of 2015-16 was five per cent, which is slightly worse than the figure of 4.9 per cent recorded in 2013-14, the UPA government's final fiscal.
With globalisation hitting a wall frequently as countries are opting for protectionism to safeguard their own workforce first, there is enough reason for Indians employed abroad to feel nervous. On the top of it, if the indigenous economy also fails to create enough avenues of employment, then one can well imagine the disaster we are heading for. Jobless growth can eventually throw the entire social stability into turmoil.
The time bomb is ticking but yet the leaders are not being seen coming together to find a way out. That's even bigger a shock.