Saturday, September 30, 2023

Open opportunities

As was stated earlier in this column, unemployment among educated youth has been one of the major problems facing the country. And it is more serious in our state for the reason that we have no industries worth the name that could absorb our youths. Figures may vary, but the size of our educated unemployed youths continues to increase each year as more and more students’ graduate every year and eventually winds up jobless. This glut is leading students and colleges to what might be considered acts of desperation. Take for example the recent Combined Staff Recruitment Examination (CSRE) 2022 conducted by the Nagaland Staff Selection Board (NSSB). It was reported that over 50,000 candidates appeared for 600 posts, i.e. over 83 candidates for one post. But it is hardly surprising given the already grave employment situation in the state. Yet, the dilemma facing the students is hardly unique. Through the ebb and flow of the economic cycle, college students elsewhere in the world have long been accustomed to the idea that a degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee them a job – at least not right away. But in a state where, not so long ago, the state guaranteed everyone employment, however lousy, it is a new and unsettling reality. At present the government is the major industry for providing employment but that has reached a saturation point. It is even observed that many departments of the government are over staffed and retrenchment should be considered in order to lessen the burden of expenditure on the government. Naturally the government is seized with this social problem that, as we know, is gradually overflowing to political sector. Yes, the state is confronted with dual situation of decreasing government jobs and increasing manpower seeking government jobs. It is our problem; it is problem of our youths; it is socio-economic problem of the state; it is problem of our society and its solution has to be found by us. Perhaps solution of the problem lies in giving practical shape to a judicious, rational and pragmatic employment model under which each eligible and willing youth can be given opportunity to serve for government, private sector or can establish private enterprise. We must not lost sight of the fact that employment of youth is closely connected with the financial and economic health of the state. Therefore ways and means have to be looked for if the youth are to be employed profitably. That is why experts believe that the state must be pulled out of its non-industrial complexion. Why have no industries developed in the state when we know that industrialization is the viable remedy to unemployment. Many reasons are suggested. Industrialization meaning installation and expansion of such industries in the State as are conducive to its physical and geographical conditions has never been prioritized. Apart from this, a major deficiency that has dogged employment chances for the youth is the lack of proper training and skills. This is an age of excellence and perfection. Each trade and each profession has to have manpower that is skilled and productive. Just having an educational degree would not help. We are living in a mechanized world system and all services needed to keep us alive have to be professionally competitive. For this, our education system also cannot escape blame for failing to adapt to the new economy of the world. It is today obvious that most of the graduates do not have the skills that match the job market. They are often not qualified for the available job openings. Till date, our students are being taught lots and lots of theories without putting it much into practice. Again, this is because not so long ago our students’ were being taught, not with an eye on giving them the cutting edge to excel in today’s competitive job market not just in our state but anywhere in the world, but only for getting a government job in Nagaland. Unfortunately this mentality has not changed even today, and our graduates still believe that by getting a government job, however lousy, they have achieved everything in life. It is time the political leaders need to realize that school curriculum is not the straitjacket that they remember from their days but it is today the key to opening opportunities.