Nearly two-third of the world’s youth in 159 countries which constitute 98.1% of world population and 99.4% of world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), lack basic skills which are required in order to be internationally competitive, a study conducted by National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has revealed. As a result, the economic cost of these deficits would amount to over $700 trillion over the remaining century, that is, 11% of discounted GDP, the study stated.
As per the estimate of the study, 85.1% of Indian students fall below basic skill levels. This skill deficit reflects the economic performance of the country, the study stated. “Basic skill level in every child is directly proportional to the economic development of a country. Without necessary skills in the modern world economy, people will be unable to contribute to and participate in the fiscal development,” the NBER working paper series said.
South Asia which includes India can benefit with an economic gain of $97.8 billion which will result in an 821% increase in the GDP if currently enrolled students get at least basic educational skills. Furthermore, the gains could go up to 2,176% at $259.5 billion if all children achieve the basic skills. “These educational reforms in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can immensely contribute to economic gains of a country,” the NBER study added.
Meanwhile, India has already begun batting for skill development of its youth with the implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The new education policy lays extra emphasis on skill based learning to create an industry ready workforce. The document suggests introducing vocational education from sixth grade onwards. Such courses will now get equal weightage in higher education institutes. “India is en-route to a better economic performance by bridging the skill development gap through its education reforms. It is certainly going to be a game changer for the education system as well as the economy,” Madhu Batta, associate professor, Delhi University, said.