International Youth Day is celebrated each year on the 12th August.  It first took place in 2000 and came about in order to increase awareness of the difficulties and challenges facing youth today.   It was hoped that this day would encourage young people to get more involved in their communities.

We know that young people (aged 15 to 29) generally like to be carefree, enjoy their leisure time doing the things that feel good, like playing video games or at a SlotoCash Casino or enjoying some sporting activity.  But the 2020 focus was on ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action”.  The emphasis being on showing how today’s youth can, and are making vital contributions to their individual country’s organizations on a local, national and even on an international level.

Tring to understand what lessons can be learned on how their involvement can be improved.  Getting them more active and interested in official and established political institutions.

NEET (not in employment, education and training)

According to the United Nations, the global youth population, that is between 15 and 29 years, is around 1.8 billion.   Of this number, every fifth young person lives in India. That’s around 20%, or 266 million.  That figure stresses how important this young population is in the country.

There are many challenges to be faced for these young people.  One of the biggest is how to manage the large numbers of those youth “not in employment, education and training” (NEET).   At the International Youth Day, the issues concerning these young people was high on the agenda.  Looking at the needs of these NEET youth who are likely to reside on the margins and may well get left behind in terms of normal development.

In 2015 the United Nations adopted “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.   At the same time, they called for the number of those within the NEET youth category to be significantly reduced within the next 15 years.

According to Global Employment Trend for Youth 2020, the participation of young people in work, across countries has been continually declining. Notwithstanding the fact that the youth population has grown from 1 to1.3 billion between the years 1999 to 2019, the number of young people actually participating in the labor force has dropped from 568 million to 497 million during that time period.

The international classification of youth is those between the ages of 15-24 years. It is thought that one in every 5 of these is in the NEET category.  That means that out of the 1.3 billion young people in the world, 267 million are not in any kind of paid work or training situation or undergoing educational guidance of any kind.  Their potential is not being realized.

As already mentioned, the largest number of young people in the world today reside in India. In 2014, the ‘National Youth Policy’ of India defined youth in the country as between the ages of 15 and 29 years.  In 2011, census information showed that they represented 28% of the entire population and contribute around 34% of the nation’s national revenue. The most up-to-date data show this figure to be around 27%. That is, in 2020, 1.3 billion of the entire population are considered youth.

An encouraging development has been the increased number of young people in secondary and post- secondary education.  This leads to better skills and enables them to find better employment all around the globe. At the same time, however, the 2017-18 report, put out by the Labor Force Survey, found “a significant increase in unemployment rates for the youth segment of the population”.

And, an even more worrying issue, is the growing joblessness found amidst the more educated youth which has risen considerably from 6.1% in 2011-12 to 17.8% in 2017-18. Those seemingly to have suffered the worst are those with technical degrees. They have an unemployment rate of 37.3%.

Post graduates are not far behind with a rate of 36.2%.  The situation for graduates is around 35.2% and for young people with some vocational training at 33%.

For women the outlook is not good at all.  They hardly participate in the workforce and there is a scarcity of jobs available.  Unemployment rates for women are greater than that of men even if they are educated and have received formal training.  And the Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the situation.

You would think that job prospects for young people with good and relevant training would be better.  However, only 1.8% of people in 2017-18 stated that they had undergone some professional or technical education and half of these were classified as youth.

In more developed countries, 50-80% of those receiving training are youths.   In 2017-18 about 33% of those young people who had received some form of formal training were unemployed. “Nearly a third of trained young men and more than a third of trained young women were unemployed”.  From those youth that didn’t get any training, 62.3% were not in the labor force.

Not to mention the increasing number of NEET which has grown from 70 million around 2004 to around 115 million in 2018.   This has become increasingly more apparent to the Indian government and they have created steps to manage this problem.  They initiated “Skill India Campaign”, which introduced a number of ways to close the gap between lack of education and training and lack of employment.

Initiatives

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Skill India, the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme, among others are a few of the initiatives introduced.  The PMKVY was to teach relevant skills that would help young people find better jobs.   This was supposed to be given free of charge.

However, it seems that many young people who received formal tuition had to pay for it themselves. Only 16% were able to get government funding (PLFS data 2017-18).  Those that received full time training was approximately 73%.  Half of the young people involved trained for more than one year and roughly 30% trained for two years or more.

By 2016 a government committee that was formed to improve the initiative found that the program was in fact too ambitious and that the targets could not be fulfilled.  At the same time, they learned that more monitoring was needed on how the funds were being allocated for the program.

Unfortunately, the majority of young people don’t receive formal training and those that do need to pay for it themselves and still don’t have jobs at the end of it.   The government has since reduced the funds allocated to PMKVY and this perhaps shows a lack of confidence in the program.

In order to improve the economy of the country, it is vital that the growing youth population gains the relevant skills necessary to enter the labor market.  This presents an ongoing challenge.  At the same time there are other challenges like workplace standards, quality of jobs, work mobility, salaries and many other issues.  Of course, now there is also Covid-19 to contend with.