New Delhi: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday warned that "failure" to properly educate and provide "productive employment" to millions of Indians, especially youth, will have "serious economic and social implications" for the country.
"Nothing can be more disruptive for our social cohesion and sustained economic progress than a large army of educated, unemployed youth who feel dis-empowered in every sense of the term," he said while giving the convocation address at Jamia Hamdard University here.
Referring to estimates, he said, "By 2022, 63 per cent of our population will be in working age group. Also, we are one of those countries where working age population will be in far excess of those dependent on them till 2040."
"This demographic structure presents us with a potential demographic dividend which (if) tapped could add to our growth," he said.
The Vice President pointed out that this could happen if two conditions namely "higher levels of education and skill development" and "creation of an atmosphere for rapid growth of economy and quality employment" were fulfilled to meet the needs and aspirations of youth and the marginalised and deprived sections of the society.
"Educating, skilling and providing productive employment to our teeming millions, especially the youth becomes a matter of highest priority in order to reap the benefits of the demographic dividend. Failure to do so would have serious economic and social implications for the country," he added.
Ansari also mentioned empirical evidence which shows that socio-religious groups such as SCs, STs, Muslims, women as well as backward regions of the country which lag behind in education, also trail the rest of the nation in terms of employment and socio-economic and political empowerment.
Emphasising on the need to develop an "effective" higher
education system for forging a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable society, Ansari pointed to "considerable challenges" before it in the form of problems of "access, equity and quality".
"Our education system as a whole and at all levels continues to suffer from the three problems of access, equity and quality. Given the direct correlation between education, employment and empowerment, the biggest challenge confronting us is low employability of our graduates passing out of higher education institutions," he said.
Citing "credible" job market surveys, he said "less than 20 per cent engineers are employable for IT jobs and 7.5 per cent for engineering jobs".
Another survey on graduates (2013) finds as many as 47 per cent graduates are not employable for any industry role while a similar report on MBAs (2012) informs that employability of management graduates in functional domain remains below 10 per cent."
Highlighting the survey findings concerning "common ailments" afflicting higher education, he called for urgency of addressing the issue "comprehensively, for emergence of the country as a modern, progressive and prosperous society".
"What is required is to widen the reach, enhance affordability and improve quality of education so that it is accessible to all strata of society."
"The education system will have to gear itself to support nation's economic agenda by creating job-ready and employable workforce. This would be critical for achieving faster sustainable and inclusive growth as well as providing decent employment opportunities to growing young population and the needy sections of the society," he added.
The Vice President was presented a memento by the university Chancellor Dr Habil Khurakiwala.
Vice Chancellor Prof G N Qazi presented his report in the convocation ceremony in which a total of 207 PhD degrees, 22 Gold medals were awarded besides under graduate and post graduate degrees for the past three years.