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Plan panel push for job-oriented education

Calcutta, July 24: The Planning Commission has written to the Prime Minister that education is not helping Indian youths secure employment.

“More than 70 per cent of the unemployed youth in the country have gone to school, at least up to Class VIII. This means education is not helping the Indian youth land a job,” S. P. Gupta, a senior commission member, said. He was speaking at a seminar on employment generation here today.

Responding to the commission’s observations, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Gupta said, has sought recommendations on revamping education to gear it towards generating employment.

“We want the government to introduce vocational training in a bigger way. It should perhaps be made compulsory at higher levels in school,” Gupta said.

“Only 2 per cent of the labour force in India have vocational training, whereas in South Korea, it is as high as 90 per cent.”

Vocational training, he emphasised, should lead to creation of special skills that would help secure jobs.

The organised sector contributes only 8 per cent of the jobs created in a year, he said. “More than half of that still comes from the governments, even though government undertakings are already overstaffed and financially in a shambles.”

According to Gupta, self-employment has increased sharply, though per-unit employment in the small-scale sector has fallen as sharply. The current average employment in a small-scale unit is 4.6 persons, significantly lower than in the past, he said.

“There appears to be an impression, spread by some management institutes, that the developed countries would soon be faced by labour shortage, and countries like India would benefit from the situation. The Union cabinet asked the Planning Commission to examine whether the impression was correct,” Gupta said.

“But we found unemployment in the developed world was pegged at 6 per cent (of the workforce), and labour shortage was unlikely till 2015. So, for the next few years, we will have to rely on cost-competitiveness to have jobs outsourced to India.”

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