For South Africa to turn around the fortunes of its youth, it should find a solution for the plight of 60% of the young people who exit the school system without anything to show for it.
Johannesburg – For South Africa to turn around the fortunes of its youth, it should find a solution for the plight of 60% of the young people who exit the school system without anything to show for it.
The revised draft National Youth Policy (NYP) 2020-2030 has shown that a driving factor in the unemployability of most of the youth was that millions left school without obtaining an all-important matric certificate.
Spearheaded by the Presidency-based Ministry for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, the draft NYP was intended to determine interventions needed for youth over the next decade.
“Large numbers of learners are dropping out of secondary school without obtaining the National Senior Certificate or Grade 12, a Further Education and Training or Adult Based Education and Training certificate,” read the published draft.
“About 60% of South Africa’s youth have either left school before matric or have failed their matric exam, and are left without any kind of recognised educational qualification. Over time only a small proportion complete Grade 12 and pursue post-secondary education and training to acquire intermediary and professional skills.
“In 2011, only 31% of young people completed their matric,” it said.
The 31% figure contradicted the announcement by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga that year, that the matric pass rate was 70.2%.
But it was in line with the revelations of academics and independent organisations that not all of the million learners who enter the schooling system each year reach matric.
The draft NYP said just about 52% of 24-year-olds in South Africa have completed Grade 12 to date, which was “low compared to 70% in most developing countries”.
It stressed that a multifaceted approach was needed to reach out to the millions without the matric certificate.
“These large numbers of young people who exited the education system prematurely possess no professional or technical skills, making them effectively unemployable, hence about 60% of unemployed youth aged below 35 years have never worked.
“Without a targeted intervention, they will remain excluded from the economy,” said the NYP.
It said while the basic education system should reduce drop-out rates, interventions were needed to provide the matricless with skills and a “second chance” to pass matric.
“Diverse skills training opportunities and financial support for young people with low scholarly abilities and from low and middle-income households is needed,” said the NYP.
The matricless youth should be drawn to matric second chance programmes and supported, it said.
“Matric rewrite projects should be supported and publicised so that young people in all communities are aware that they can obtain qualifications through community colleges and adult education training centres.”
The standing of the youth needed special attention now as Covid-19 ravaged the economy, said the document.
“The truth is, even though our youth were already marginalised even prior to the pandemic, their situation has now further been worsened and made complicated.”