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Opinion: Is India’s Education System At Fault For The Rising Unemployment Rates?

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India has followed a unique growth pattern and evolution in terms of modernisation and advancement. India has grown at many levels and strata, particularly in education. Systematic schooling and education were available to a limited class of people and most children were subjected to homeschooling or the absence of any formal education.

Slowly the penetration of education was increased and was more readily available to all classes with higher literacy rates. The number of people getting formal education kept on increasing with time and efforts of government and other non-government organisations.

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Education brought a scientific approach as well as access to available resources to the masses. As a result, people slowly started to realise the importance of education as it uplifted their lifestyle significantly.

There was a time in India when a graduate candidate had plenty of opportunities to get a government job, as there were not as many graduates. Government jobs like being a teacher were easy to get if a person acquired a graduation or post-graduation degree in any discipline. This was a period when both education and employment were progressing together and complementing each other.

Soon education became a compulsory part of most of India’s population and every parent wished their child to have the best education and career. This high demand for the best led to the foundation of private players in the field of primary education. Slowly there was a parallel industry that stood up with the already existing government education providers.

But the same was not the situation with higher professional courses like medical, engineering, law and others as still most of the colleges were under a government set up with very few private colleges.

This higher professional education generally needed competitive exams to be qualified after the higher secondary examination. These competitive examinations needed extra preparation and attention. A parallel industry of coaching centres developed that varied from a single room setup to corporate coaching centres in major cities.

Young students had started to travel from their hometown to these centres for their preparation and those who were not able to do so were doing it by self-preparation or local tuitions. Due to the very limited number of seats in these government-run colleges, it was tough to get in.

By this time there was high demand for these professionals and the supply was low owing to the less number of higher professional colleges and seats in each college. Due to this high demand and less supply, this was the best time for these professional students to settle and earn as soon as they came out of college.

school lockdown
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But there was a need for this to be changed as there was a need to gear up the opening of new colleges, which ultimately led to the entry of private players in higher professional courses. With the growth of the private sector in higher education, various regulatory authorities were set up to keep standards of education high.

During this period, the Information Technology sector experienced tremendous growth and India started its journey to become a global leader in the IT and software sector. More and more youngsters were attracted to the lucrative packages by companies and they saw a promising career and better lifestyle. Other sectors were also growing but at a little slower pace.

Until then, the Indian education system was parallel to employment opportunity, but it soon started deranging after a few years. Suddenly, the number of professional graduates and even postgraduates jumped to new heights, but the demand grew at its own speed.

Demand and supply reversed and there were more doctors, engineers, lawyers and other professionals than the jobs available for them in both the government and private sector. This led to a new concept which was new to India and a new class of people emerged due to this — “Highly Educated Unemployed”.

The Highly Educated Unemployed class had their own miseries, which were completely different from the normal unemployed class. For this new class, who invested a long time and plenty of money, education turned out to be meaningless as the ultimate practical goal for them was getting a job, which could not be fulfilled because of the prevailing demand-supply issue.

This class is generally not heard because they are not a collective united group of people but a collection of many individuals. The problem is so deep that it has caused many young people to commit suicide out of frustration. Most of these people suffer from mental or behavioural disorders as they are generally in the age above 25 years and social pressure from all around keeps on increasing for them to get settled or look like settled.

unemployable youth in india
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When we go further into details, it becomes very difficult to understand at what point things went out of control. There may be multiple factors that may be responsible for it and the main purpose of this blog is to discuss the probable cause of the above vicious cycle.

In my opinion, things started getting out of control primarily when the number of educated people outnumbered the number of jobs. Job creation is primarily the role of the government and the private sector, so we may say these sectors failed to create infrastructure with the required pace to provide employment.

Another justification by many scholars is that it was not the problem of job creation, but it was the mushrooming of private colleges. Regulatory authorities have often been corrupt and few higher authorities of these regulatory bodies face high corruption charges.

Increasing quantity and decreasing quality of these courses are two consequences of all the irregularities due to which young graduates and postgraduates who are part of this crisis are the main sufferers. Therefore, measures are necessary to create a balance and education should be made career-oriented.

This is a very complex issue that can only be solved with structural changes right from its basics from primary education, where children should be able to choose the subject of their interest and progress in that for a career. Parents should also be made aware of the different fields and safe careers other than the old Doctor-Engineer duo.

Time will balance the imbalance with proper attention from policymakers who are equally responsible for creating the problem.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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