Saturday, May 25, 2024
Editorial

Skill deficit

Entering the labour market is a considerable challenge for the young generation in our state. It goes without saying that the path is hindered by a constellation of constraints. The recent economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that youth integration into employment market is becoming increasingly difficult. Today unemployment rates and the percentage of young people losing jobs have increased dramatically. Nagaland is now experiencing a youth bulge, with more than half of the state’s population falling between 18 and 40, which is likely to continue for the next few decades. The sheer demographics make youth the most important segment in the political economy of our state. Unfortunately only an insignificant percentage of our youth have access to high-quality education. This scenario necessitates additional skill-oriented programmes for youth to develop work prospects, particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. We know that our state has one of the highest percentages of unemployment rate in the country. Unemployment and underemployment are two of the most severe difficulties that our people face, and they are significant roadblocks to economic progress. The scarcity of trained human resources is one of the leading causes of unemployment here. It is becoming increasingly clear that employment options for graduates of general topics are becoming limited in the current environment. The education provided at the bachelor’s degree level is neither market-oriented nor skill-oriented. The skill profile of our youth is not what the market requires. So there is a gap between what the market needs and what we supply. Hence, in traditional sense, it’s the problem of unemployment. But in modern outlook, it’s basically more a grave problem of employability. Today, equipping the workforce with the skills required for the jobs of today and those of tomorrow is a huge concern. We lack robust strategies to bail out ourselves out of the skill deficit economy. Too much of emphasis on conventional education system has, wittingly or unwittingly, overlapped the significance of skill development of our youth. It is urgent that the government focus on launching skill development programmes for the younger generation. It is perhaps in common knowledge that well-implemented skill development programmes can contribute significantly to our socio-economic growth and improve the economic position of the poorest members of society by providing them with decent earning prospects. This brings the debate over our state’s technical and vocational education and training sectors, which has become a significant policy problem, to the fore. The extensive list of inadequate manufacturing facilities is due to a lack of finances for effective maintenance of technical equipment and a concentration on theory rather than actual skill optimization. Institutes entice students by promising monthly scholarships and tuition waivers, but they fail to provide them with the necessary skills to compete in local and countrywide job markets. These institutes’ graduates will almost certainly have a diploma but no work. Technical and vocational training can help to generate earning prospects for young people, particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. No one can deny the importance of skill development programmes in helping young people realize their full potential. The quality and uniformity of the curriculum and the dissemination of practical skills should be the focus of an effective technical and vocational education and training offering. And before initiating any skill development programme, it is crucial to raise awareness about the programme’s benefits and drawbacks through appropriate channels so that the maximum number of people can benefit from it. The government should target young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds with limited prospects and financial means for further education to make them members of the state’s skilled human resource pool. A state with such a precious resource as a young population has the opportunity to reinvent itself as a critical source of trained and experienced workers, given the declining labour force and rising senior population. Our representatives must pay close attention to the production of professional and dynamic human resource. Vocational training is essential since it may connect young people’s skills to businesses’ needs. Bringing vocational training closer to the needs of dynamically changing and growing labour markets and economies can assist young people in finding more productive and long-term employment. In the eyes of young people, a “good job” begins a long-term investment in and connection to the labour market; thus, a job that includes formal training is an excellent job by definition.

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