India’s fabled demographic dividend needs to be underpinned by quality education. Currently despite about 95% enrollment rate in primary education, millions are unemployed or under-employed. The quality of education, especially in provincial schools, is abysmally low.
Only elite schools in India’s metropolises prepare students for individual and economic empowerment. Such schools are beyond the reach of about 80% of our population, even though many recognize the direct link between quality education and economic opportunities.
India’s demographic profile is a double-edged sword. If India fails to reap the benefits of its demographic dividend, it risks social chaos: frustrated and unemployable youth are socially marginalized and easily led to crime. The aspirations of the young can easily be dashed if they cannot meaningfully participate in a economically progressive, multi-cultural society.