It is a matter of great concern that for the country’s millions of educated youth, degrees and certificates have become useless, as they fail to get jobs and help brighten their future. Going by the official records, in the academic year of 2018 about 64.7 lakh students passed out of undergraduate courses and over 20 lakh passed out of post-graduate disciplines. These include conventional three-year degree courses and professional degrees. Notably, India produces almost 10 to 14 lakh engineering graduates from across its educational institutions every year. The number of all students to graduate this year could well be – over 1 crore. However, ironically, there are not as many jobs, for these freshers. The pressure on the limited job market for freshers multiplies as millions of young graduates and postgraduates enter the arena every year looking for employment — suitable or unsuitable for their knowledge and educational qualifications.
The situation looks even grimmer for those who look for jobs on completion of board-level examinations under State Education departments for want of money and adequate marks to pursue under-graduate studies, including short-term technical courses. The number of students passing the Central and State school board examinations every year runs into several crores. More than 50 percent of those opt for jobs. The most preferred of them are the Government-aided primary school teacher’s jobs. Even that is not easy to get. Under the National Council for Teacher Education, a statutory body of the Union Government, to be a teacher in state-funded elementary primary schools one must have a senior secondary school certificate or its equivalent and a diploma or certificate in basic teachers’ training of a duration of not less than two years. The salary offered is way below what can get you a good, respectable salary to live in a country with ever-rising prices and a degrading economy. According to reports, these jobs are far too few compared to their demand. They lead to highly corrupt recruitment practices, including bribery and political alignment.
According to MHRD, the country’s student population in higher education grew by 8 lakh in 2018-19, compared to the previous year’s counts, taking the absolute number of such students to 3.74 crores. Every year, nearly 1.5 lakh medical students pass out and get their MBBS degrees. While some go for post-graduate studies, others join mostly the public health service or private hospitals and nursing homes. However, engineers are not so lucky. Unofficial reports say that 20 to 33 percent of qualified engineers are either jobless or engaged in sundry work. Nearly, 1.5 million engineers passing out every year run the risk of not getting a job at all. Recently, Raghuram Rajan, a professor of finance at the Chicago Booth School of Business and former Reserve Bank Governor, said the high unemployment rate in India is a real danger, especially for the lower middle class, as it creates room for “entrepreneurial politicians who cater to these divisions” rather than focussing on actually enhancing jobs. Ironically, the mushrooming private sector jobs are mainly in the gig economy, such as drivers for Uber, or delivery workers for Zomato or Amazon. A Niti Aayog report hopes the Indian gig economy will have 2.35 crore workers by 2029-30. Nevertheless, to create quality jobs on a mass scale the country needs to boost manufacturing which hinges on creating infrastructure, removing red tape, and reviving investor sentiment.