BILAL AHMAD DAR
Unemployment, both of the educated and the uneducated variety, has become one of the most topical and thorny issues in contemporary Kashmir. Despite constituting a major chunk of our population , our youth are lagging behind in every field. They have a major role to play in the region’s progress but due to lack of a support system, they are facing many new: they are afflicted by an identity crisis lack of self-confidence, a sense of hopelessness and confusion, and ambiguity about moral issues and the future. They have been trapped in a culture marked by violence. All this has resulted in an unstable economy a shattered confidence of foreign investors and a break-up of the social fabric.
Entrepreneurship development is the most powerful weapon of the youth; with, it they could lead Jammu and Kashmir towards progress. Unfortunately, however, quality and skill based education is still a dream for our youth, especially the poor. There is no formal guidance for students in logical selection of a specific course of study. There is no unified entrepreneurship education system. Our universities and colleges have become degree distributing machines. Education does not mean only degrees but, in its true sense, it is about the future of the youth.
Entrepreneurship education is a global phenomenon and a proven solution to combat youth unemployment. It’s a tool that can arm young people not only to start businesses and create jobs, but also to be opportunity-focused. It provides youth with the ability to think like entrepreneurs and to act like business owners, the ability to be problem solvers and the capacity to be adaptable, comfortable and self-directed in unclear situations.
I think we all agree that the first group which should be prioritized in terms of employment is the youth. It is the youth which are employed that can contribute most effectively to the state economy and the development process thereof. There are some fundamental discrepancies in our system that brings about this situation of unemployment and also the lack of decent employment among youth the lack of marketable skills in youth makes it harder for them to find decent employment. But, this is not the only reason. As skilled individuals come out of universities the job market is already highly saturated that no space is there to create new jobs. Even the private sector is running on full capacity.
The administration recently introduced vocational training schemes as an answer to unemployment. This was an intelligent and a futuristic solution and it has helped in countering the problem to a certain extent. But, there’s much more to be done. A lot can be done through promoting entrepreneurship among youth. If the government can come up with an efficient system to provide initial capital and consultative support to interested individuals, a huge chunk of the unemployed youth would find a better alternative than being employed. The establishment of JKEDI has made valuable contribution by creating an impressive record of achievements in promoting entrepreneurship among youth suggests that having a venture of your own helps in generating employment; the challenge lies in the fact that many young people are hesitant to move to startups of their own. This is often a result of misconceptions regarding the risks involved. Yes, there are significant risks but with the government’s backing youth should change their mindset to take calculated risk we do have a subject in the state curriculum for Ordinary Level called Entrepreneurship Studies but this is simply not enough.
We need a proper system in place ; the best resource of Kashmir is its youth. We cannot afford to lose them, and we cannot afford to let them leave for career prospects abroad because of the inadequacy of opportunities here. It is a duty of government to look after its youth. If a government cannot afford to find jobs for each young person out there it is still bound by the duty to help them create their own through entrepreneurship.
—The author is a PhD scholar at the Jaipur National University in theSchool of Business and Management. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org