Just over two months ago we celebrated youth month (June) in commemoration of the youth of 1976 that left their mark in the sand of history, one that is recognized and hailed by many across the globe. This part of history tells us that even the youth back then knew that education was their only chance to a better tomorrow despite the education system that was deliberately designed to disadvantage black South Africans. Twenty years into its demise, the ripple effects leave the youth of today to bear the brunt.
Ranked second last for math and science and fifth last for its overall education system, South Africa ironically has one of the highest budget spending on education in the world and its focus outcome remains unchanged year after year – to improve the quality of basic education. Education, economy and unemployment are intertwined. If the economy takes a dive to the deep end, money and resources will not be invested in education and therefore because the economy will be drowning under, there will be no job creation and no skilled workers. “Following the global recession it seems the economy is under a lot of strain to grow while creating jobs at the same time,” these were the words of the Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus.
Worry and frustration continue to mount on the accelerating unemployment rate in South Africa and recent statistics show that the unemployment rate has risen to 25.60% in the second quarter of this year from 25.20% – this seemingly adding insult to injury more especially to the youth that already feel failed by their government. Strategies to alleviate unemployment and poverty alike always take top priority for the presidency and plans of action have been put in place since post apartheid era.
It’s no brainer that in order for employment opportunities to be created in the country the economy needs to grow and this is not only a responsibility for the government but citizens and the youth especially can do their bit. A youth wage subsidy was suggested by the DA as a possible solution in boosting youth employment by as much as 25%. This proposition was as one would expect contested, with its adversaries arguing that it would put the older working class out of jobs and in the long run rob the very youth it’s meant to rescue. Entrepreneurship is one of the best incentives that act as a catalyst to curbing the numbers of unemployment.
Perhaps the Education crisis to blame for unemployment. There are a number of flaws in our education such as teachers that lack basic pedagogic and other competencies needed to impart skills to learners, insufficient resources and infrastructure and crowded classrooms, but one that I feel is the biggest blunder is the constant shift of our curriculum syllabus. I’ve talked to many people who’ve expressed that the subjects they did at school did not help them much in their lives after school especially those that didn’t study further.