Over 60% of unemployed young people in South Africa have dropped out of school without a matric pass or certificate, according to a revised draft of the National Youth Policy 2020-2030.
The revised draft youth policy has also shown that a driving factor in the unemployability of most of the youth in South Africa was that millions left school without obtaining a 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.
According to the draft report, South Africa’s high rate of youth unemployment is largely attributed to the skills shortage in this age group.
In 2011, only 31 percent of young people completed their matric (Grade 12) education.
The 2013 General Household Survey estimates that 983 698 students were enrolled at higher education institutions (universities and universities of technology) in 2013.
Almost two-thirds (66.4 percent) of these students were black, 22.3 percent were white; 6.7 percent were coloured and 4.7 percent were Indian or Asian.
According to the New Growth Path, the main challenges hampering young people from meaningfully participating in the mainstream economy are joblessness, poverty and inequality.
If not addressed, the socio-economic effects of this situation will be dire, including increased crime, a poorly performing economy, extreme joblessness and poverty, and increased potential for political instability.
Against this backdrop, the NYP 2020 places employment creation at the centre of all youth development interventions.
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 matric-less youth should be drawn to matric second chance programmes and supported, it said.
“The Department of Basic Education, in partnership with private providers, should support learners who need a second chance to pass matric. Matric rewrite projects should be supported and publicised so that young people are aware that they can obtain qualifications through community colleges and adult education training centres. The Department of Higher Education and Training should provide young people who have left school with the opportunity to complete their education to enable them to compete in the open labour market.”
(COMPILED INSIDE EDUCATION STAFF)