The high levels of youth unemployment in India are a cause of concern to my heart and mind. Why I can’t say with certainty, but I do know such issues require prayerfulness. The church needs to help in this crisis, what is God saying to us, what should we do?

Let me give you some facts.

The Wire India says,

“There are approximately 9 million people in the labour market with at least a graduate degree who are unemployed.”

“The high rate of unemployment among the educated is both due to the lack of sufficient jobs and poor schooling as well as the mediocre quality of education on offer at most colleges. This makes large numbers of graduates unsuitable for employment that is commensurate with their degrees…the employability rates of college students remains under 50% and as low as 30% for graduates in arts and commerce. Nearly half of all undergraduate students – who make up for 80% of the total number of students – are enrolled in the least employable disciplines.”

Business Today magazine, published in India, gives this figures about urban youth unemployment.

“The unemployment rate among urban youth was 23.7% in the third quarter of FY18.”

Which is where I started to think about the nature of degrees and training. This was prompted by a Big Think article describing college education in the USA which stated that:

  • U.S. college enrollment has declined for the eighth consecutive year.
  • Recent survey found that a majority of freelancers found skills training to be more important than having a degree.
  • It’s becoming harder for universities to keep up with a rapidly changing workforce.

Maybe this quote sums up the situation,

One of the fastest growing areas of work is within the freelancing community or “gig economy.” A recent survey titled Freelancing in America 2018 found that 93 percent of freelancers with four year degrees said that skills training was more useful than their degree. A majority of 70 percent of freelancers participated in new skills training within the past six months, compared to only 49 percent of full-time non-freelancers that didn’t do any skills training in that same time frame.

As for the Indian situation Business Today went on to mention aspects of vocational training…

“In India nearly 2 per cent of the persons aged 15 -59 years had received formal vocational training: 1.2 per cent in rural areas and 3.7 per cent in urban areas”

“The percentage of urban youth who received formal vocational training was 4.4 per cent in 2017-18.”

“In urban areas, among people who received formal vocational/technical training, 57.1 per cent were employed, 11.3 per cent were unemployed and nearly 31.5 per cent were not in the labour force.”

Finally looking at rural unemployment Down To Earth quotes these figures (article published in June 2019):

  • The latest Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) states that the unemployment rate (UR) in both rural and urban India is at its highest since 1972.
  • The unemployment rates among men and women in both rural and urban groups, are also the highest ever. The increase in the UR is more than three times among rural men and more than double among rural women according to the usual status since 2011-12.
  • In urban areas, the UR among men is more than twice and has increased twice among women since 2011-12. It is to be noted that the UR between 1972 and 2012 was almost static or did not have many differences (See Table 1). Besides, the UR rose sharply among youth of ages between 15-29 years and those who got better education.

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