Unemployment: Perfect storm

Students should pursue education with a reason and should develop a direction where they see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Unemployment: Perfect storm

Annual Employment and Unemployment Survey Report released by Labour Bureau under Union Ministry of Labor and Employment, contains most disturbing 'facts & figures' vis-a-vis future of our educated youth. Survey puts J&K with the highest unemployment rate (10%) in North India. Though with the number of unemployed youths registered in various district employments and counseling centers reported a bit over 6 lakh, the number 'would touch a million in 2017' as thousands of youth pass out from various universities in the country every year.

The scenario reveals that these young and budding human assets are surprisingly pursuing degrees to turn themselves into liabilities. Today lakhs of our educated youth are struggling to find their livelihood.

Why these human assets get translated into liabilities? We don't need a kind of thorough probe to find out the causes. We have still a run-of-the mill system of education where our young ones are just handed over graduate, post graduate and other routine degrees only to wander for want of a job. Our colleges and universities which have come up in abundance in the past one decade focus on adding more and more courses randomly, but ignore important aspect of student's career development.

In an increasingly competitive atmosphere coupled with innumerable career choices, today most of the students are confused about which field to step into. For most of our students the 'best way' to go about a career development is to pursue a career that either their friends have taken up or their parents have told them to do so.

Here at our place, career choices also tend to be influenced by factors such as respectability attached to certain professions, peer pressure, fads and also the lack of value attached to some careers.

Unfortunately, most of the parents have been encouraging career decision practice of their wards as a last minute event until their wards enter into last year of education. Otherwise, a career decision should have been a process and not a one-time affair. Parents have to take the fact into account that they can make suggestions about career fields, but at the end of the day, they have to allow their wards to be the ultimate judge of what's best for them.

So it is a matter of career development. As a responsible parent, be patient, sympathetic and understanding, even if you don't agree with your ward's decision. One of the most valuable things parents can do to help a child with career planning is listen and be open to ideas, try to help your ward find information, and be nonjudgmental. Ultimately, it is the child who has to make the choice. Of course, you may want to mention factors to consider, such as job market demand, salary ranges, long-range opportunities, skills required, etc. But remember, today an occupation being "hot" does not mean it will be equally in demand after 10 years.

Another important observation is that amid the fast expanding education system, which is more commercial in nature, most of the students have no clue about their future and waste money on pursuing courses that don't match their abilities, interests, and even personality. Though a sort of career counseling activities have been generated, yet we lack the professional approach to career development activities in elementary, intermediate, and secondary levels as a crystal ball to the future.

So the dire need is that our education system accommodates concept of professional counsellors on priority basis to help our youngsters in career development at the incipient stage. Why can't we have regular 'career days' in our educational institutions? On 'career days', the students be introduced to various careers options through professional counsellors. When the best career options are enumerated for students, it helps them develop a better understanding of the careers they would prefer. This will help the students to become aware of their strengths and weaknesses and also to explore where their values and interests lie. Ultimately our colleges and universities would stop producing liabilities.

Last but not the least. Students should pursue education with a reason and should develop a direction where they see a light at the end of the tunnel. This will go a long way in containing the menace of unemployment. Otherwise, burgeoning number of unemployed youth bears a tendency of a perfect storm with a huge potential to derail any political, social and economic setup.

(The views are of the author & not the institution he works for)

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