Higher education and employment

A newspaper report says that for 70 posts of peon and helper of lab assistants in a university in West Bengal there were eleven thousand applicants. Among them were bachelors and masters of science, B Tech, and M Tech degree holders. The salary was Rs. 15,000. This exposes the stark reality of acute unemployment in the State. There is another aspect also. Higher education is becoming more and more expensive. Those joining the higher education courses usually come from well-to-do families. But the higher education they get is proving to be a social waste because they are not getting jobs where they can use, for the benefit of the society, the knowledge that they have acquired at a great cost. An M Tech or an M Sc willing to do a peon’s job for earning his livelihood does not bring kudos to the country or the society or the government of the day.
The stark reality is that instead of creating employment, unemployment is on the rise. Filling up of vacancies has almost stopped in the nationalized banks and other public sector undertakings. Demonetization took a heavy toll of small and medium industries. The sluggish market holds out little prospect of a spurt in the growth of employment. In the past one year or so, the West Bengal Government held several ‘’business summits’’ to attract investment in new industrial projects. Investors who attended were liberal with promises. A few days ago, the State’s Finance Minister Amit Mitra claimed that foreign countries are also ‘taking great interest’ in projects in West Bengal. China, he said, was keen on participating in a deep-sea port project. But there is a wide gap between ‘showing interest’ and actually undertaking a project and start working on it.
There is no doubt that in the last six to seven years, there has been great development in rural Bengal. Connectivity has improved greatly. The State Government’s various social welfare schemes have also helped the rural people in many ways. The percentage of literacy has gone up. These are solid achievements. But the purpose of spreading education and improving connectivity is employment generation and opening avenues of income. If the educated cannot be given gainful employment, then the education system virtually becomes a factory for turning out educated unemployed in huge numbers. If a holder of M.Sc. degree is forced to apply for a lab assistant’s helper’s job, then higher education becomes a joke. Along with the spread of education, especially higher education, the State, in cooperation with the industries, will have to create jobs for them.

Monday, 16 April, 2018