United Nations declared July 15th as the World Youth Skills Day (WYSD) at its General Assembly held on November 2014. To raise awareness at the global level about investing in the skill development of the youth, a move to commemorate this day was initiated by Sri Lanka with the assistance of the G77 and China.
World Youth Skills Day (WYSD) becomes more relevant when viewed in terms with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2015- 2030 as proposed by the United Nations for the peaceful and prosperous present and the future of the stakeholder countries. These include 17 goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. It may be recalled that there is about 2 billion youth (10–24 year age) globally with a large chunk of about 90% coming from the developing world.
Young people have the potential, energy and drive to bring in the transformation in the social patterns and the policy initiatives. Empowerment of the youth with necessary skills becomes a major objective under the SDG to make the world a better place to live in. Hence the following two goals are significant in the context of the youth:
1. Goal 4 on Quality Education aims at providing primary education to children, eliminate gender inequalities, suitable learning environments. Article 4.4 is best suited towards the empowerment of the young people, “By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.”
2. Goal 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth aims at enhanced productivity for ensuring employment and decent work for all women and men, including youth with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value by 2030.
Observing the World Youth Skills Day every year would act as a reminder to the policymakers about the short term goals proposed by the United Nations. In today’s context, it is seen that falling economic growth rates globally have a direct fall out in rising youth unemployment. As per the UN statistics, “At least 475 million new jobs need to be created over the next decade to absorb the 73 million youth currently unemployed and the 40 million new annual entrants to the labor market.”
It may also be mentioned here, that surveys conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reveal that the employers, as well as the youth, consider that many graduates are ill-prepared for the world of work. Attaining decent work is a significant challenge for most of them. In many countries, the informal sector and traditional rural sector remain major sources of employment.
The UN-designated World Youth Skills Day seeks to generate greater awareness and discussion on the importance of technical and vocational education, training, development of other skills relevant to local and global economies. Repeated thinking on these aspects may contribute towards policy changes that may result in reducing unemployment and underemployment among the youth.
The SDG-2030 agenda focuses on ensuring vocational and technical skill development, easy access to TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training), decent work opportunities, entrepreneurship and eliminating gender disparity across the globe. It is aimed towards bringing awareness by promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth and providing help to young adults.
The concept of skill development involves giving directions through proper training/counseling sessions, to raise the confidence level of students and linking the earned skills to livelihood opportunities for various sections of the society. One of the most critical points is that there is a dire need to create awareness among the youth on why the government is investing in them and who will be the ultimate beneficiary of the whole process. This requires extensive counseling sessions to make them understand the significance of choosing the right vocational training course, work environment and role of other related factors that will impact their lives.
However, the operation of the skill training institutes in itself is a specialist job that requires careful consideration. The skill development initiative is appreciable, but there is a need for a more meticulous implementation approach. The current model TVET requires a thorough re-examination for providing a sustainable source of livelihood to a large set of the population.
This calls for a need to think out of the box by identifying the problems being faced by various stakeholders in the process of skill development. Such a study would help in mapping the pain points of the users and plugging the gaps. It may also lead to the development of innovative business models that could be implemented with quality outputs using a design-centric approach.
#skillschangelife, #wysd2019, #skillIndia