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Ramaphosa trumpets plans to tackle youth unemployment ‘crisis’ and boost education

Ramaphosa trumpets plans to tackle youth unemployment ‘crisis’ and boost education
President Cyril Ramaphosa said the Department of Basic Education is streamlining the requirements for early childhood development centres to access support and enable thousands more to receive state subsidies. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

The President’s State of the Nation Address outlined some of the ways the state plans to put young people in jobs, as well as focus on access to quality education.

On Thursday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa once again referred to the “crisis” of youth unemployment – but stressed that a turnaround plan was already in place, offering dignity, hope and vital work experience to South Africa’s jobless young people.

“To address the challenge of youth unemployment, the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) has been expanded to encourage businesses to hire more young people in large numbers,” he said.

In addition, a new cohort of 150,000 school assistants started work at more than 22,000 schools in the past week, the Social Employment Fund was recruiting 50,000 participants in its next phase to undertake work for the common good, and the revitalised National Youth Service would create a further 36,000 opportunities through non-profit and community-based organisations.

And the Department of Home Affairs had appointed the first cohort of 10,000 unemployed young people to digitise more than 340 million paper-based civic records.


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Ramaphosa said South Africa needs to expand vocational education and training systems through the implementation of the approved curriculum of the three-stream model to produce more skills, and combat joblessness among young people.

Read in Daily Maverick:Looking beyond the Grade 9 Certificate debate: The Three Streams 

Plans to alleviate youth unemployment also included:

  • Placing 20,000 Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college graduates in employment; and
  • Increasing the number of students entering artisan training in TVET colleges from 17,000 to 30,000 in the 2023 academic year.

According to Ramaphosa, more than three million users have registered on SAYouth.mobi, a platform for young South Africans to access learning and earning opportunities. It forms part of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention.

Getting it write

As for education, the President said the Department of Basic Education is in the process of streamlining the requirements for early childhood development centres to access support and enable thousands more to receive state subsidies so they can give very young children the foundation they need to write and read for meaning, and to learn and develop. 

“Access to quality education for all is the most powerful instrument we have to end poverty,” he said.

The President also congratulated the matric class of 2022 for their resilience and raising the pass rate to 80.1% from 76%, as well as the improvement shown in all provinces. 

Read in Daily Maverick:Four key takeaways from Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address

“What these results reveal is that there is a silent revolution taking place in our schools. Schools must be safe and allow for effective learning and teaching,” he added.

“This year, the government plans to finalise the Comprehensive Student Funding Model for higher education, particularly for students who fall outside current NSFAS criteria, reaching those who are known as the ‘missing middle’.” DM

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