[India] faces the immense challenge of harnessing this generation as a productive work force, or else facing the combustible prospect of hundreds of millions of unemployed youth in the future. The Indian government estimates that 500 million young people must be trained by 2022 and has made skills training a major policy issue.Since 2006, Gras has trained about 28,000 students in 10 Indian states. More than 60 percent take technical courses on computer networking, accounting, and computer and cellphone repair. Service industry training is popular for those who want work in shops, restaurants and hotels, as are courses for future plumbers, electricians and beauticians.
Some Indian students are enrolled in vocational programs and in college courses simultaneously—and paying for both. In China, students are conflicted by the societal pressure to attain the prestige of a degree—and the fact that more than 95 percent of vocational graduates find work. But the vocational education industry in both countries is growing. China has 500,000 schools; India, at 11,000, is catching up.And though thousands of miles away, India and China’s youth unemployment problems echo America’s own. A bachelor’s degree still serves as a prerequisite for many jobs here, but it’s sometimes unclear what most students learn in four years of schooling. Across the country, employers complain that college grads are woefully unqualified for work. And with the revitalization of brown industry, young people are going to be looking for increased legitimate options to gain solid employment.[Image of Indian schoolchildren in Agra courtesy Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock.com]