Indias powder keg, worthless degrees and rising youth unemployment


India's education system is booming, yet many graduates are unemployable and lack necessary skills. Students are investing in multiple degrees hoping to enhance their social status or improve marriage prospects, despite limited resources and poor training. Education is becoming an issue for the government as they attempt to attract foreign manufacturers and investors.

News Points

  • New colleges popping up in small apartment buildings or shops in marketplaces
  • Thousands of young Indians are graduating with limited or no skills
  • Outdated curriculums and teachers with insufficient training are offered by small private colleges
  • Half of all graduates in India are unemployable due to problems in the education system
  • Mixed quality of education leads to hiring challenges in industry
  • Unemployment remains high at over 7% despite the world's fastest growing major economy
  • Education is an issue for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he tries to attract foreign investment
  • Higher education is becoming increasingly expensive
  • Degrees are considered essential to improving social status and marriage prospects
  • Some institutions have been accused of using fake faculty and patients to obtain permission for student admission

Full report

India’s education system has been on an upward trajectory for years. Despite being home to some of the world's best engineering and management institutes, millions of young Indians are graduating with degrees that have little value in the job market. The country's education industry is booming, with new colleges being established at a breakneck pace. However, many students are left with few skills, making them unemployable, at a time when the country's economy is rapidly growing.

The situation is worsened by the fact that many students are enrolling in institutions that promise job placements, but offer little in terms of education or practical experience. Private colleges, in particular, are said to be lacking in regular classes, trained teachers, updated curriculums, and job placements, according to several experts who were interviewed by Bloomberg.

The cost of tuition fees in India has risen considerably over the years, leading to many students paying for two or three degrees with the hope of securing a job. While higher degrees were once accessible only to the wealthy, they now have a special cachet for young people from middle and low-income families. Many students cite reasons for investing in further education, from improving their social status to applying for government jobs, which require degree certificates from applicants.

However, half of all graduates in India are still unemployable in the future due to problems in the education system, according to a study by talent assessment firm Wheebox. This has kept unemployment stubbornly high at over 7%, despite India being the world's fastest-growing major economy. The quality of education is also becoming a significant issue for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he seeks to attract foreign manufacturers and investors from China, particularly since he has promised to create millions of jobs in his campaign speeches.

Many businesses are struggling to hire because of the mixed quality of education, making the issue an outsized problem for India's economic growth. The complexities of the country’s education boom are on show in cities like Bhopal, where massive billboards advertising private colleges promising young people degrees and jobs are ubiquitous. Such promises are hard to resist for millions of young men and women dreaming of a better life in India’s dismal employment landscape.

Unfortunately, many students are finding out that the degrees they have earned do not prepare them for the job market. For instance, 25-year-old Tanmay Mandal paid $4,000 for his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Despite the high cost of the degree, Mandal says he ended up learning almost nothing about construction from teachers who appeared to have insufficient training themselves. He couldn’t answer technical questions at job interviews and has been unemployed for the last three years. Mandal’s experience is not unique, and many of his friends are also unemployed despite having degrees.

India’s education system is in a critical state, and the government needs to address the issue urgently to prevent the country from being left behind. There is a need for better quality education, with a more practical approach that provides students with the necessary skills to be successful in their careers. It is also necessary to monitor and regulate the establishment of new colleges, ensuring that they meet certain standards and requirements. Only then can India's education industry continue to thrive, and young people can have access to a better future.


India's education system has expanded rapidly, with new colleges being established at breakneck speed. However, graduates are often unemployable due to limited skills, lack of practical experience, outdated curriculums, and insufficient training provided by small private colleges. The education system's shortcomings are leading to hiring challenges in the industry, with unemployment remaining high despite the country's rapid economic growth. Education is a growing problem for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he tries to attract foreign investors and manufacturers, and education reform is likely to be a hotly debated issue in the 2024 national elections. Despite the high cost of education, degrees are considered essential for improving social status and marriage prospects, leading many students to invest in multiple degrees. In some cases, institutions have been accused of using fake faculty and patients to obtain permission for student admission.