The Star Early Edition

Ma­tric key to curb­ing lack of jobs

Crit­i­cal prob­lem of pupils drop­ping out

- | @Bon­ganiNkosi8­7 BON­GANI NKOSI bon­gani.nkosi@inl.co.za Unemployment · South Africa News · Education · Schools · Employment · Society · Stellenbosch University · National Planning Commission of Nigeria

WHILE more than half of the peo­ple trapped in unem­ploy­ment in the coun­try have no ma­tric, the gov­ern­ment’s own data has es­ti­mated 65% of those leav­ing school each year do so be­fore ob­tain­ing the crit­i­cal cer­tifi­cate.

The Draft Na­tional Youth Pol­icy for 2020-2030, pub­lished on the cur­rent na­tional gazette, stated that about a mil­lion youth exit the school­ing sys­tem each year and 65% leave with­out ma­tric.

This one mil­lion fig­ure, of those ex­it­ing school, in­cluded those who sit for the ma­tric exam and those drop­ping out in other grades.

Just over 504 000 sat for the fi­nal exam as full-time can­di­dates last year, and 94 397 failed to at­tain the cer­tifi­cate. This is how the 81.3% na­tional pass rate came about.

The Draft Na­tional Youth Pol­icy prob­lema­tises what it terms “high drop-out rates” in the coun­try’s school sys­tem, say­ing it was a ma­jor con­tribut­ing fac­tor to the skills short­age among youth.

This draft was pre­pared by the Na­tional Youth De­vel­op­ment Agency (NYDA), the Min­istry of Women, Chil­dren and Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, and the Na­tional Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

“Large num­bers of learn­ers are drop­ping out of se­condary schools – with­out get­ting a Na­tional Se­nior Cer­tifi­cate or Grade 12, or an FET or adult ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion,” it said.

“About a mil­lion young peo­ple exit the school­ing sys­tem an­nu­ally, of whom 65% leave with­out achiev­ing a Grade 12 cer­tifi­cate.

“Half of those who exit the school­ing sys­tem do so af­ter Grade 11, ei­ther be­cause they do not en­rol in Grade 12 or they fail Grade 11,” it said.

“This doc­u­ment is clearly marked as a draft and, for that rea­son, we are not go­ing to com­ment on the con­tent thereof,” said De­part­ment of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son Eli­jah Mh­langa.

“It is not fi­nal, so the au­thors fully un­der­stand that the in­for­ma­tion con­tained herein could still be qual­ity as­sured. The de­part­ment will use the ap­pro­pri­ate chan­nels to make in­put, as part of the con­sul­ta­tion process,” Mh­langa added.

Martin Gustafs­son, an ed­u­ca­tion ex­pert from Stel­len­bosch Uni­ver­sity, said while he agreed that about a mil­lion learn­ers ex­ited the sys­tem each year, it was con­tentious that 65% left with­out ma­tric.

“I agree with the mil­lion (fig­ure). It’s prob­a­bly less than a mil­lion, maybe 950 000,” said Gustafs­son.

“I don’t agree with the 65% (fig­ure). That 65% should be about 45%. About 55% of youth get ma­tric.”

Given that 409 906 passed ma­tric last year, it be­comes even more con­tentious that 55% of youth ob­tained ma­tric if 950 000 ex­ited the sys­tem each year.

Ler­ato Gambu, NYDA’s spokesper­son, vouched for the num­bers re­flected in the youth pol­icy doc­u­ment.

“The fig­ures men­tioned therein are from the Na­tional Youth Pol­icy (20152020). It could be that they have been added purely be­cause it could be a re­cur­ring chal­lenge,” he told The Star.

Pub­li­ca­tion of the draft pol­icy co­in­cided with yes­ter­day’s re­lease of the Quar­terly Labour Force Sur­vey, by Sta­tis­tics SA.

Re­veal­ing that the coun­try’s unem­ploy­ment rate stood at 29.1%, it stated that 55.9% of the job­less had ed­u­ca­tion lev­els below ma­tric. Those with ma­tric made up 34.7% of the unem­ploy­ment rate, while only 8.7% of the un­em­ployed held post-school qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

The youth pol­icy doc­u­ment said in­ter­ven­tion was needed to ar­rest the prob­lem of the “ma­tri­c­less un­em­ploy­ables”.

“Large num­bers of young peo­ple ex­ited the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem pre­ma­turely and pos­sess no pro­fes­sional or tech­ni­cal skills, mak­ing them ef­fec­tively un­em­ploy­able,” stated the doc­u­ment.

“With­out a tar­geted in­ter­ven­tion, they will re­main ex­cluded from the econ­omy.

“A multi-faceted ap­proach is needed to strengthen ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion and re­duce drop-out rates for cur­rent stu­dents. It has to cre­ate path­ways for school leavers to ac­cess post-school learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, while ad­dress­ing the lack of skills and work ex­pe­ri­ence among youth.”

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