Monday, January 22, 2007

Demographic Dividend

India has a "Demographic Dividend" says the Economic Times

What is Demographic Dividend?
The presence of a large number of citizens in the employable age group (15-59 ). Currently about 54% of them are under 24. But such a large pool is an edge over competing Asian countries (most importantly China) only if they are skilled and hence are capable of contributing to the productivity of the labour work force.

Is the employable age group a "dividend" now?


- 70% of the current labour force is either illiterate or educated below primary levels.
- 5 million college graduates each year are not skilled for direct employment.
- Outdated curriculum in most of the engnieering and other technical (diploma, ITI) educational institutions and poor quality teachers
- Low skill level among women causing increase in unemployment rates among women.

How does it affect to have people of employable age with little to no skills?

It backfires! A large pool of skilled and employable labour means adequate supply in terms of quantity and quality for meeting the rising demand of labour due to expanding economic activities like manufacturing. Large pool of unskilled youth, not only decrease productivity, but also tend to consume without contribution, thus pulling the ends apart rather than converging.

What the government has to do?

Explore all avenues of skill development.

- Massively improve literacy for long-term benefits, identify sectors where currently illeterate can be employed for short-term benefits.
- Improve quality of education (update curriculum etc) at all levels, most importantly at the mid-level - those who complete higher secondary education, but do not enroll for graduate-level courses - by increasing visibility and quality of vocational education. (this initiative helped post war USA and Japan and a lot of asian countries that do better than India today!)

Other interesting points to note:

A figure to corroborate the low skill-level in India compared to other developing countries.

- 5.06% of Indian Youth are single-skilled (vocationally) trained. The number is 95.86% in Korea, 36.08 Mauritius, 27.58 in Mexico.
- BIMARU states, which lack most of the facilities to realise the dividend, will contribute about 150 million (about half) to the population of working age in the next 20 years.

source The Economic Times

- What do I think?
If the governement is serious (and there is no question it isn't), instead of lowering the cut-off and reserve seats in engineering colleges and medical colleges, it can upgrade its vocational courses, make them more accessible to the inner regions of the country and accomodate all those "low-scoring socially-backward" and "low scoring but socially forward" at the mid-level. Afterall these graduate-level courses are over-heated, but offer little to nothing in terms of employable skill. This move will give more importance to vocational courses, reserve the professional courses for the high-scorers, hence shutting down useless colleges and evince skill-development in the true sense.


Prakash Gomathinayagam said...

What I think is:
1) Make professional options in native language also.
2) make more options in vocational courses. Govt. shd make a donations webpage, which can serve the needed for free [ and it shd be cleaner system like sankara nethralaya ]. all of us who makes money, can donate.
3.1) Make laws and redesin the professional education system to be more user friendly.
3.2)Make sure education is for others to understand, not to showoff ur talent. I can think of the AI course in my BE CSE, some intellectual bastard, has prescribed that book, which I think, the whole idea is that you should not understand it!.
Making the education reachable is what the govt has to do. All are capable, given a chance! . or blindly follow the US structure instead of British.

Prakash Gomathinayagam said...

forgot the important point. As always,I have a contradicting view with u :)

Govt shd concentrate on professional/service oriented course more than vocational. because we are in 'service oriented' phase. vocational courses are helpful in 'industry oriented' phase.

Badhri said...

Well then we should concentrate on "industry-orientation".

What I am really interested is that while Engineering should be considered more elite than basic sciences, arts or polytechnique, taking up the latter should be made to look like an embarrassment. This education should provide some sustainable job-opportunity too!

Why do you think we should leave out arts and science education all-together? Do you think a graduate with B.Sc. Math or comp-sci is going to be any worse a programmer than a B.E with Mech. back ground?

Contradiction is good, it opens up the mind..if of course one is willing!