South Asia Youth Skills and Solutions Forum

29 to 31 October, 2019 | Mumbai, India


About the event

At a time where the future of work is more unpredictable due to the increased automation of the workforce and the dynamics at play in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, only 1 in 4 young people in South Asia is estimated to be on track to gain secondary-level skills necessary for success in the global economy. While great strides have been made in achieving universal primary education, South Asia is still home to 28 million out-of-school-children (OOSC) – 10 million at primary level, and 18 million at lower secondary level – and 45 per cent of primary-aged children are not learning the basics of reading and math.

The result is a significant skill and employment challenge in South Asia, where many young people are not receiving the learning and training to keep pace with the evolving demands of employment. This skills gap, which contributes to high levels of unemployment for higher education graduates and large informal economies where young workers are in vulnerable employment, must be addressed through innovative approaches that connect secondary-age education and training to the fast-changing world of work.

To respond to this critical challenge, the Generation Unlimited Global Team, the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education), and the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (UNICEF ROSA) co-hosted the South Asia Youth Skills and Solutions Forum. The event took place on 29-31 October 2019 in Mumbai, India. Over 250 delegates representing civil society, private sector, government, international agencies, and youth participants, attended and contributed to the event. It brought together participants across eight South Asian countries to reflect on, and renew commitments for, building strategic partnerships and improving the future of education, skills, and employment for youth.

South Asia's youth and a new world of work

A call for action by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore

The organizers

By 2030 there will be 2 billion young women and men seeking opportunities for a bright future throughout the world.

If these young people are prepared with the right skills for work, they will live out their full potential and lift up entire nations. But investments in learning and training are falling short and too many young people are not keeping pace with the evolving demands of employment.

Generation Unlimited brings young people together with the private sector, governments, international and local organizations to tackle this urgent challenge. We are connecting secondary-age education and training to a complex and fast-changing world of work.

We’re matching young people with job opportunities, fostering entrepreneurship and empowering a generation to fully engage with their societies as active citizens.

UNICEF works in the world’s toughest places to reach the most disadvantaged children and adolescents – and to protect the rights of every child, everywhere. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we do whatever it takes to help children survive, thrive and fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

The world’s largest provider of vaccines, we support child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality education and skill-building, HIV prevention and treatment for mothers and babies, and the protection of children and adolescents from violence and exploitation.

Before, during and after humanitarian emergencies, UNICEF is on the ground, bringing lifesaving help and hope to children and families.

Non-political and impartial, we are never neutral when it comes to defending children’s rights and safeguarding their lives and futures.

And we never give up.

The Global Business Coalition for Education is a movement of businesses committed to ending the global education crisis and unleashing the potential of the next generation. Our mission is to ensure that every child has the best start in life, a safe place to learn, and skills for the future. 

Established in 2012, the Global Business Coalition for Education is committed to bringing together the expertise and resources of the business community with the campaign for global education and Sustainable Development Goal 4.

We serve as the business community’s social impact advisor, combining the expertise of education and business to develop customized programs and identify investments, partnerships, and opportunities that will have the greatest impact. We know that tackling the global education crisis takes the collective power of business and other stakeholders – and know-how to bring these voices together for positive change.

The members in our network are next-generation business leaders who understand the power and potential of leveraging their knowledge, resources, and scale in coordination with peers, government, international organizations, and NGOs.