South Asia Youth Skills Forum

Youth Skills & Solutions Forum

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 are 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% of primary-aged children are not learning the basics of reading and math. The result is a significant skills and employment challenge – a skills gap which contributes to high levels of unemployment for higher education graduates and large informal economies where young workers are in vulnerable employment.

To respond to this critical economic and social development challenge, UNICEF South Asia and the Global Business Coalition for Education will co-host a South Asia Youth Skills and Solution Forum. The Forum builds on the work of the UNICEF Generation Unlimited Initiative and GBC-Education’s Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative.

GBC-Education’s Youth Skills and Innovation Report, as well as UNICEF reports, “The Evidence-Base for Developing Skills in Youth to Succeed in the Evolving South Asian Economy” and “Voices of Youth”, will inform the discussions. Recommendations from ongoing national consultations will aid in providing localised perspectives throughout the forum.

Date: October 29-31, 2019

Location: Mumbai, India

Agenda: Find it here.

For more information, please contact Brittany Gray at


Event Format:

The Forum will commence with visits to project sites, followed by a day of discussions and plenaries between businesses and the public sector focused on identifying entry points and taking action. Attendees will include government representatives from throughout South Asia, UNICEF country office representatives, key development partners, civil society members including youth leaders, global and national businesses, and small and medium-sized enterprises in India and across South Asia.

Find more details about each day’s programming here.

Event Objectives:

  1. Demonstrate the need for private sector investment in the next generation of South Asian youth
  2. Advance the development of partnerships between the private sector, governments, and international agencies to scale-up sustainable solutions to the youth skills crisis in the region
  3. Identify comparative strengths and entry points for businesses, governments, youth, and development partners to engage in supporting adolescent education, skills, and employment in the region
  4. Send a powerful signal to youth that their aspirations and needs for education, skills, and employment are a high priority for powerful social, political and economic actors