Huge pool of unskilled youngsters is disaster: Sibal (To go with main Kapil Sibal interview)

June 25th, 2009 - 1:24 pm ICT by IANS  

By Darshan Desai
New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) Only 11 out of 100 students going to school in India reach graduation levels - this is a recipe for disaster, says new Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal as he pushes the cause of primary and secondary education.

“The figure is startling. Only 11 out of 100 students going to school in the country reach graduation levels. Put in more concrete terms, there are 547 million people under 20 years of age in India and only 11 percent of them will become graduates,” Sibal told IANS in an interview.

“This is a recipe for disaster. You have a huge national pool of unskilled youngsters who have no avenues for gainful employment.”

“What do most of them do? Many of them open small, sundry shops. India’s retail shop business has the highest number of such unskilled people…they are millions,” says Sibal, who studied at Harvard Law School.

Re-elected from the Chandni Chowk constituency of Delhi, the new minister says his focus therefore is on primary and secondary education. The average school dropout rate in India is 39 percent.

On how he proposes to improve the dropout rate, Sibal says: “This is a holistic exercise. We need to reform the school system, which I am working on. There will be community colleges, more polytechnics, vocational training, skill development centres.”

“All this,” he adds, “will be promoted in the context of the needs of the economy.”

(Darshan Desai can be contacted at

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