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Asian, European varsities to discuss youth unemployment

from 38 Asian and European nations will gather in the Netherlands to discuss the issue of rising youth unemployment around the world.

Themed 'Universities, Businesses and You: For a Sustainable Future', the biennial meet is organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation together with the ASEAN University Network.

The conference is hosted this year by the Netherland's second oldest university, the University of Groningen (1614), the organizers said in a statement on Tuesday.

About 21 percent of the population under 25 within the 27-member European Union are unemployed, according to the EuroStat.

Similarly in Asia, the International Labour Organization projects the average youth unemployment rate for 2012 at 11 percent.

The universities should provide an academic training that allows graduates to have better prospects for a lifetime of employability, said professor Sibrandes Poppema, president of the University of Groningen.

By organising quality exchange programmes, universities can equip students with invaluable intercultural skills that will serve them and their employers worldwide.

Universities also need to co-operate with businesses and to increase contacts between employers and future graduates, the statement quoted Poppema as saying.

"Co-operation between businesses and universities means that we have to think about precisely what we are educating students for. The 3rd ASEM rectors' conference will address exactly that," he added. IANS

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