In the job mar­kets, a higher ed­u­ca­tion de­gree is of­ten a road to nowhere

Mint ST - - VIEWS -

ed­u­ca­tion and re­source al­lo­ca­tion.

Sens­ing the dis­con­tent, the TRS, which re­cently won a land­slide vic­tory in the state polls, has promised to get to work on the un­em­ploy­ment cri­sis.

But the stu­dents are not en­tirely con­vinced. They ar­gue that the state’s pol­icy seems to be to dole out cash to all so­cial sec­tions while keep­ing the work­force un­em­ployed, which would then re­sult in a de­pen­dent elec­torate that would keep the party in power for as long as pos­si­ble.

“The gov­ern­ment gives my mother ₹1,000. I do not want this. Give me a gov­ern­ment job in­stead. I will take care of my mother,” El­la­iah says.

The as­pi­ra­tion for well-paid jobs has led to a sit­u­a­tion where many stu­dents, like Kalyan Reddy, con­tinue their stud­ies hop­ing for a de­cent job at the end.

Some­times, the in­tent isn’t even to re­ceive an ad­di­tional skill. Os­ma­nia Uni­ver­sity and other state-run ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, which were cen­tral to the state­hood ag­i­ta­tion, have now donned a new role.

“Stu­dents en­rol them­selves in pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties to get a sub­si­dized stay while look­ing for jobs in Hyderabad,” says Manne Kr­is­hank, a stu­dent leader who was in­volved in the Te­lan­gana state­hood ag­i­ta­tion and is now with the Congress party.

The fee re­im­burse­ment scheme, of which both Kalyan Reddy and Durga Prasad are ben­e­fi­cia­ries, helps stu­dents con­tinue their ed­u­ca­tion while they con­tinue hunt­ing for jobs.

With in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy jobs dry­ing up, the rise of the gig econ­omy has soaked in some of the labour force, but the kind of em­ploy­ment on of­fer has only fur­ther ex­ac­er­bated the prob­lem.

“It’s the lack of skill and not the lack of op­por­tu­nity which is the real prob­lem,” says a se­nior of­fi­cial in the Te­lan­gana gov­ern­ment pub­lic ser­vice com­mis­sion, who re­quested anonymity. Doc­toral schol­ars and en­gi­neers are among those ap­ply­ing for even gradeiii & IV posts, the of­fi­cial cited above said. He says that most of those who have ac­quired higher ed­u­ca­tion are cer­ti­fied but are not nec­es­sar­ily bet­ter skilled.

“Is it true that there are a lot of peo­ple who are well-trained and not find­ing jobs, or is it that they have only pa­per qual­i­fi­ca­tions?” asks Prof. Amit Ba­sole, an econ­o­mist at Azim Premji Uni­ver­sity.

While lack of skills may in­deed be a con­cern, it is also true that as­pi­ra­tions rise along with higher ed­u­ca­tion and the highly ed­u­cated are in­creas­ingly choos­ing not to “set­tle” for just any avail­able job. Pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor com­pa­nies alike in­creas­ingly hire on con­tracts un­der terms which deny ba­sic job se­cu­rity and so­cial ben­e­fits.

The re­sult is the in­creas­ing al­lure of that all-elu­sive gov­ern­ment job, whose charm has only gone up in the eyes of the masses, es­pe­cially among ru­ral peo­ple. Ear­lier this month, the Kar­nataka po­lice busted a gang deal­ing with leaked exam ques­tion pa­pers meant to be is­sued in gov­ern­ment tests for bus con­duc­tors, po­lice sub-in­spec­tors, con­sta­bles and other such posts.

“The go­ing rate for a sin­gle ques­tion pa­per for the post of a po­lice sub-in­spec­tor is ₹40 lakh,” said a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cial, ad­ding that for a po­lice con­sta­ble, it is ₹6-7 lakh. Most of the as­pi­rants had paid ad­vances of around ₹1-3 lakh to get their hands on the test pa­per.

Mean­while, young men like Kalyan Reddy work hard to get into a cen­tral uni­ver­sity, which could fur­ther sub­si­dize his mas­ters stud­ies and keep him a con­tender in In­dia’s chaotic job mar­ket. “Af­ter my mas­ters, I will try to get a job re­lated to my pro­fes­sional qual­i­fi­ca­tion. If not, I will try for a gov­ern­ment job,” he says.


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