In job markets, a higher education degree is often a road to nowhere
At 19, Kalyan Reddy is like any other collegegoer: ambitious, vulnerable and unsure of his future. Now in the final year of his bachelors in biotechnology course, he is eyeing a postgraduate degree in the same stream. His hope: a better standing in the job market than someone with just a bachelors degree.
His elder brother, Durga Prasad, 22, completed his bachelors in technology (B.tech) last year. Now he idles away his time, waiting for some job vacancy to open up in the Telangana government service, notifications for which have been scarce. His application for the post of a village revenue officer last year has made no progress.
“Job options are the same but post-graduates might get better preference,” Kalyan says, speaking in Telugu and broken English.
A recent report by the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University, State Of Working India 2018, noted that unemployment among the well-educated is thrice the national average. There are roughly 55 million people in the labour The unemployment rate among the highly educated (graduates and post-graduates) is about three times the national average of 5%.
4.2 force who hold at least a graduate degree, and about 9 million of them are estimated to be unemployed, the report added.
7.4 statistics may not sound much different from that of the rest of the country; however, the key difference is that the state’s birth in 2014 was powered by a sustained social mobilization led by well-educated students. It’s five years since the state was carved out from Andhra Pradesh. Since then, Telangana has subsidized and incentivized educational advancement through a series of populist schemes. But what happens when the protagonists of bifurcation do not find jobs?
As in many other states, Telangana too sees a large number of highly qualified candidates for low-level government jobs.
Boddu Ellaiah, 39, who holds a PH.D in economics, left his job as a government teacher in Karimnagar’ Thimmapur village in 2006 to join the agitation for statehood. But since 2014 when the state was carved out, Ellaiah, like thousands of other students, feels disenchanted and left out of the growth story.
“We didn’t just fight for [mere] boundaries,” he says. “We fought for neellu, nidhulu, niyaamakaalu (water, funds, and jobs),” Ellaiah says, quoting the slogan which animated the statehood agitation.