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Nothing more frustrating than being unemployable: Tharoor

Aug 02, 2013

India’s demographic dividend could turn into a demographic disaster, if millions of young people are not trained to be employable, cautions Shashi Tharoor.

New Delhi: For those who think that text books are not sufficient for providing skills necessary enough to lead a successful life, here is some good news. To integrate life skills and adolescent concerns in the teaching-learning materials in select subjects at the secondary school level, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has developed teaching-learning videos in collaboration with India’s National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

Launching the videos in New Delhi, India’s Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Shashi Tharoor, stressed that education should be used as a tool to improve the quality of life. Highlighting the need for taking education to the out-of-school children, Tharoor appreciated the efforts of NIOS for using diverse and evolving mediums to engage students in building up their skills.

“We need to catch students before they dropout of schools. We need to ensure that our youth are adequately skilled and employable, lest our demographic dividend turns into demographic disaster. There is nothing more frustrating than being unemployable, particularly for the youth,” Tharoor said.

Terming the videos as self-learning-videos, S S Jena, Chairman, NIOS said that these videos would promote scenario based learning and help students in getting equipped with better negotiating skills.

“These videos are for teachers and basically deal with five subjects including English, Hindi, Science, Social Science and Home Science and are the most opted subjects at the secondary level,” Jena said.

Anders Thomsen, UNFPA Representative for India (officiating), said that open schooling was crucial for the empowerment of girls. According to him girls were more likely to leave schools because of various pressures.

“Open schooling ensures that willing girls are able to continue their education. Educated girls would learn about things like family planning and will play a pivotal role in bringing prosperity to their homes,” Thomsen elaborates.

Thomsen added that the videos which have been released in English would also be made available in Hindi other regional languages of India for a wider reach.

Asheema Singh, Consultant Adolescence Education Programme, UNFPA, said that the open school system addresses constraints like infrastructure and lack of teachers which plague the regular school system. “The rising number of dropouts actually shows the failure of formal education system. NIOS provides a second chance at education to lakhs of boys and girls people who drop out of school. Around 5 lakh young people enrolled for NIOS courses at secondary and senior secondary level in the academic year 2011-12,” she said.

Ummul Kher, a research scholar at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of International Studies (SIS), recalling her experience with the open school said that the life skills she acquired during her schooling helped her a lot.

Kher believes that institutes like the NIOS not just take schooling beyond the bookish language but are also instrumental in making education accessible to the deprived lot, especially the disabled people.

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