Bangalore, Jan 19: Former President A P J Abdul Kalam today said unemployment was not the real issue in India, but unemployability or skill deficit was causing a great concern.
Delivering the Convocation address at the 43rd Annual Convocation of the Bangalore University here he said, ''As the country has entered into the Trillion dollar economy and continuing to be in the ascending economic trajectory, we are concerned about the rising unemployment and illiteracy. Unemployment is not the problem, it is the question of unemployability which is a bigger crisis''.
According to India Labour Report 2007, 53 per cent of employed youth suffered some degree of skill deprivation while only eight per cent of youth were unemployed. Remaining 57 per cent suffered some degree of unemployability, he recalled.
He said it was estimated that Rs 480,000 crore would be needed over the next two years to repair the skill deficit. ''Ninety per cent of employment opportunities require vocational skills and 90 per cent of our college and school students do not have adequate practical knowledge,'' Dr Kalam said.
''Unless the basic principles are integrated into the systems and specific strategies set out to raise the employability of the growing work force, the mirage of a large pool of skilled labour in the country would continue to obstruct our growth'', he added.
Dr Kalam said graduates coming out of the colleges should become employment generators and not employment seekers.
''For this the Indian education system pyramid has to be based on strong and vibrant school education system supported with the refined higher education system. Only then we can produce quality output from the school system, which would become the quality input for the higher education system. This would ultimately deliver a finished product for building the knowledge society,'' he said.
Stating that time was precious and if one orbit was lost it would lead to loss of one year, he called upon the youth to set goals and work towards achieving it in time.
Dr Kalam said there were 540 million youth under the age of 25. The figure would grow continuously. ''Keeping this resource in mind, the Universities and educational systems should create a global cadre of skilled youth with specific knowledge of special skills and another global cadre of youth with higher education. ''These two cadres would be required not only for powering the manufacturing and service sector but also for fulfilling the human resource requirements of various countries,'' he said.
Stressing the need for increasing vocational courses to make youth employable, Dr Kalam said the ''National level mission is essential to think of extending the system for providing world class vocational skills to our youth. This would bridge the employable skill gap''.
Stating that the education system should not simply produce the clones of the individuals based on the standard system of question and answer pattern, Dr Kalam said there was need to bring out the best from every individual in all disciplines to make the nation great.
Earlier, Chief Justice of India Justice K G Balakrishnan, Scientist Goverdhan Mehta, former Bangalore University Vice Chancellor T R Jayaraman and veteran freedom fighter G Narayana were honoured with honorary doctorates by Governor Rameshwar Takur, who is also the Chancelor of the University.
One hundred and seventy five students were awarded PhDs at the Convocation.