Source: The Guardian
Pauline Rose, former director of the Education For All report, on the impact of failing education systems and sloppy definitions
How would you describe youth unemployment in the developing world?
The scale of it is huge and even greater when we take into account not only those who are unemployed in a formal sense but also those who are underemployed (earning below a poverty wage). This is something the 2012 Unesco Youth, skills and work report I worked on highlighted.
How we define unemployment can be hugely problematic. How people are classified can vary much between different contexts. Often what people understand as unemployment in the developed world won't apply in low-income countries.
What are the main causes?
The main cause is that education systems are not providing young people with appropriate skills and this starts at the most basic level. Our 2012 report shows that there are 200m young people who weren't even completing primary school. Our current report states that 175m young people can't even read a single sentence, of those 61% are women. If you have that number of young people without these basic literacy skills they will struggle to find a job that will provide a decent lifestyle.
On top of that, transferable skills that employers are looking for, such as teamwork and communication, are not being taught. This is partly because you have the ministry of labour dealing with the labour force, and ministry of education dealing with education, and the two of them often don't speak to each other. If we are to overcome the unemployment crisis – which is partly being fueled by a learning crisis – we need to bring those two together.