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The ‘State’ Of Our Education System In The Technology Age And
How That Translates Into Employment
by Jill Young

(Contributor’s Bio)

Abstract

In this opinion piece Jill Young argues that one of the most effective ways to break the poverty and unemployment cycle is through education, however, the education system in South Africa is not working as a stepping stone to preparing South Africa’s matriculants and graduates for the working world. Jill points this out to SA’s digital industry arguing that digital solutions opens up opprtunities for a multitude of services including ones, like the EvenME portal she founded, that act as a bridge between the current
schooling system and our unemployed youth. Jill contends that with the right policies, digital learning is a potential game changer in terms of equalising access to education, since access to the internet in South Africa has been exponential over the last few years, especially in terms of people accessing the internet via
mobile phones. She believes that not only can digital learning make a real difference to the lives of the millions of South African youth so desperately in need, but it can also position our country as a beacon of hope for the billions of under-educated but highly motivated learners across the globe that are being let down by their education
systems.

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Create Entrepreneurs Instead of Tenderpreneurs
by Erica Penfold

(Contributor’s Bio)

Abstract

This article highlights some of the most pressing challenges in youth unemployment, which include inadequate education, the legislative environment and focused entrepreneurship training. Moreover, it reflects on the challenges posed by a constraining global economic climate, the role of the government and under-scores how critical it is to generate greater momentum towards supporting small business ventures. It also argues that, whether we create entrepreneurs, who through their ambition and skill create growth, employment and more sustainable livelihoods, or tenderpreneurs, who seek to sway government procurement with money rather than ability, will depend on the extent to which government procurement is subjected to proper transparency and accountability practices.

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Obstacles and Opportunities for Youth Entrepreneurship
A Co-ordinated Approach Critical to Promote Youth Entrepreneurship
By Jacqueline Kew

(Contributor’s Bio)

Abstract

In this article Jacqueline Kew argues that in South Africa, the formal and public sectors have not created enough employment, and as such focuses on the critical importance of promoting entrepreneurship, enterprising behaviour, and an enterprise culture that supports aspirations of self-employment. A common diagnostic Kew believes, by among others, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), has been that start-up finance is inadequate and should be supplemented. However, Kew also underscores the importance of inserting financial literacy and entrepreneurial training earlier on into the school system; the critical need for improvements in maths and science education; and skills development that allows young entrepreneurs to excel beyond merely establishing necessity or survival businesses.

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The Financial Crisis And Its Enduring Legacy For Youth Unemployment
By Neil Rankin, Gareth Roberts, Volker Schöer and Debra Shepherd

(Contributor’s Bios)

Abstract

Young people are generally on the fringes of the labour market. They lack work experience and networks that can help them get jobs. If employed, their employment status is often tenuous – they are on temporary contracts, are frequently the first to be retrenched in times of economic hardship, and are in the types of firms or sectors most sensitive to fluctuations in the economy. For these and other reasons, they are dispro-portionally affected when the economy slows down.

Between 2002 and 2007, South Africa’s GDP growth steadily increased and unemployment rates dropped. As Figure 2.1.1 shows, unemployment fell dramatically during this period, particularly for those aged between 15 and 24 years – from 61.5 to 50.5 per cent for young females and from 53.5 to 41.4 per cent for young males. However, this trend was interrupted by the global financial crisis that began in the second half of 2008. Since then, unemployment rates have risen, especially for young people. By 2010, the unemployment rate for young females had increased by four percentage points, and for young males by over six percentage points, compared to less than two percentage points for those aged between 35 and 65 years.

The response of the labour market to the global financial crisis illustrates the volatility of employment for young people. In order to better design policies to deal with this volatility and to reduce the high unemployment rates young people face, it is useful to know more about the dynamics of employment among this age group.

This paper considers a number of questions: What types of jobs for young people have been particularly affected? How has demand for young people changed during this period? What processes have driven the increases in unemployment observed among young people? And, are the current policy measures sufficient to deal with the challenges of youth unemployment, particularly when economic growth is sluggish.

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The State of Youth Unemployment in South Africa
By Morné Oosthuizen and Aalia Cassim

(This paper is republished with the permission of the Brookings Institute)
(Morné and Aalia’s Bios)

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