`Swelling ranks of unemployed undermining State's achivements'

Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The swelling ranks of the educated unemployed in Kerala are threatening to put the brakes on the State's impressive achievements in human development. A survey conducted by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) here has highlighted a development paradox caused by the mismatch between the huge supply of educated manpower and limited job opportunities in the State.

The survey carried out in the Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kannur districts, reveals that the rate of unemployment among educated youth in the State has grown from 24 to 45 per cent over a five-year period from 1998. This increase has offset the significant increase in the educated labour supply and improvement in female education.

The educated unemployment rate has more than doubled in Thirvananthapuram district over the five years. The second highest increase was recorded in Kannur, while Ernakulam registered the lowest.

Presenting a paper on the study at a seminar organised in connection with the World Population Day here on Monday, the author, K.Navaneetham, said the rate of unemployment among educated women was found to be two-and-a-half times that of men. The female unemployment rate is highest in Kannur.

Among the three districts, Thiruvananthapuram was found to have the highest rate of educated unemployed (52 per cent, followed by Kannur (46 per cent) and Ernakulam (38 per cent). The overall unemployment rate in Thiruvananthapuram has gone up from 9 to 36 per cent over the five years while it has increased from 15 to 26 per cent in Ernakulam and 16 to 28 per cent in Kannur.

The survey shows that the unemployment rate is highest among those having HSC qualification while it remains almost the same for those with SSLC (45 per cent) and degree holders (48.5 per cent). Unemployment was found to be lowest among diploma and professional degree holders, indicating the rising prospects for skill-oriented education.

Educated youth belonging to the low income groups are more vulnerable to unemployment (54 per cent), compared to the higher income groups (37 per cent). Unemployment is highest among the younger age group (15 to 19). The study showed that the majority of males are getting employed by the age of 35 while females continue as job seekers till the age of 40. Female unemployment was reported to be high in all age groups.

The educated unemployment rate is highest among Muslims (58 per cent), followed by Hindus (46 per cent). The lowest rate was recorded among Christians (40 per cent).

Highlighting the failure of the Government's financial support for the unemployed, the researchers found that hardly five per cent of the jobless youth received the unemployment dole. Almost 85 per cent of the jobless youth were supported by their families.

Forty per cent of unemployed males and 20 per cent of females reported that they spend their time studying, while 80 per cent of females were engaged in household work.

The survey also found that men from emigrant households are more likely to be unemployed than non-migrant families. But in the case of females, migration status does not have a significant impact on employment.

The survey highlights the need for a fresh approach focussing on separate employment strategies for men and women. It also calls for enhancing skill-oriented education at the SSLC and HSC levels.

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