Swami Vivekananda once said, “Whatever you think, you will be. If you think yourself weak, weak you will be; if you think yourself strong you will be.”
Home to Swami Vivekananda and one-fifth of the world’s youth, India has the largest young workforce. In the past 73 years of being a republic nation, we have seen the world progressing, and if the nation which gave the philosophies of Swami Vivekananda to the world needs to catch up the speed, the youth will have to take the lead.
Jacinda Arden (PM New Zealand), Sana Marin (PM Finland), Sebastian Kurtz (Former chancellor of Austria), are examples from countries who have achieved a lot due to their young population in governance. In India too, if the younger generation learns the complex art and science of early decision-making, the aspirations and ambitions may bear fruits.
Indian industrialist Ratan Tata says, “The future of India will be driven by the phenomenal aspirations of the young population. If we are to meet our commitments to achieve population stabilization and contribute to the national aspirations of the $5 trillion economies by 2024, we must focus and invest in the young citizens of the future.”
For young people today, economic independence, the freedom to make life choices and contribute their bit to society is quite important. India is in the throes of the digital revolution currently — machine learning, robotics, artificial intelligence, all have given wings to youth to dream big.
These dreams and ambitions shape the future of any nation and higher education plays a major role in career opportunities and youth’s abilities.
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Founder and Chairman, Universal Business School, Tarun Anand, on changing aspirations of youth, says, “The Youth of today are looking for a purpose in their lives and once they get that they put all their energies towards achieving this. They want to give back to society by either creating products which make our lives better or through directly working on social causes which directly impact society.
“They are bold enough to challenge the status quo and are not willing to be silent spectators in the past. They have a voice and know how to use it and with them being more tech-savvy they know how to amplify their voice through social media. This is a great moment for educators who can harness their energy and passion and provide them with a platform to make a change.”
The New Education Policy, 2020, also reflects these changing aspirations of youth and its role in India’s future. It takes a shift from what to think to how to think.
And while the policies have provided mixed results towards engaging the young in the past, a recent report released by Lokniti-CSDS and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung indicates that the youth of the country worries over various issues and it can be linked to the pandemic resulting in worsening financial, emotional and health crises.
Over the past few years, the enrollment ratio in higher education has also increased. A report by Lokniti CSDS supports it, as four in five youth from the youngest cohort are studying and only 4% are earning. Also, 42% of young women and 36% of younger men are pursuing higher education degrees. This indicates educational empowerment, paving way for better future opportunities.
Similarly, the job preference is also changing. While 5 years ago 65% of youth preferred government jobs, now the number has subsequently decreased to 55%, with an increasing interest of 25% in starting their own business.