Johannesburg, Tuesday 30 June 2015 – Brand South Africa has noted the challenges identified by the Statistician-General with regards to challenges faced South Africa’s young people, particularly in terms of skills development and employment opportunities.
The National Development Plan aims to create the conditions for sustainable and durable solutions to the challenges identified by Statistician-General and in this regard, the plan has a youth-centric focus which will respond to South Africa’s young and rapidly urbanising demographic.
The National Development Plan is further supported by the recently adopted National Youth Policy 2015-2020 which outlines interventions specifically address challenges experienced by young people.
Equipping young people with the education and skills and ensuring that they are healthy is key to a country’s competitiveness. Such interventions give expression to the country’s commitment to human development while also ensuring that it can capitalise on the youth dividend which will see young people drive economic growth while simultaneously providing a market for goods and services produced in the country.
Amongst others, the NDP has proposed:
• Universal access to two years of early childhood development
• Improvement the school system, including increasing the number of students achieving above 50% in literacy and mathematics, increasing student retention rates to 90% and bolstering teacher training
• Strengthening youth service programmes and introducing new, community-based programmes to offer young people life skills training, entrepreneurship training and opportunities to take part in community development programmes
• Strengthening and expanding the number of further education and training colleges to increase the participation rate to 25%
• Increasing the graduation rate of FET colleges to 75%
• Providing full-funding assistance covering tuition, books, accommodation and living allowance to students from poor families
• Developing community safety centres to prevent crime and include youth in these initiatives
• Providing a tax incentive to employers to reduce the initial cost of hiring young labour-market entrants
• Providing a subsidy to the placement sector to identify, prepare and place matric graduates into work, to be paid upon successful placement
• Expanding learnerships and make training vouchers directly available to job seekers
• Formalising a graduate recruitment scheme for the public service to attract highly skilled people
• Expanding the role of state-owned enterprises in training artisans and technical professionals
The NDP is meant to be implemented over a period of time by a range of stakeholders working towards the same goal.
However, some of the developments in the area of youth development are:
• The implementation of the Employment Tax Incentive scheme through which, by the end of 2014 a total of 270 000 young people had benefited.
• Developments towards a knowledge based economy through skills building. Government will, through the Department of Science and Technology, spend R13 billion on the Research, Development and Support Programme. The Department will also make transfers to the National Research Foundation of R2.7 billion to support 4 539 researchers, 15 918 masters students; and 9 615 doctoral students.
• The National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), a joint initiative between government, business and civil society to improve education outcomes is being implemented in eight districts in Limpopo, Eastern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga and is reaching a total of 4 262 schools.
Young people are critical to ensuring the longevity of a country. South Africa is committed to ensuring that its young people are supported to ensure that they are able to take their places as active citizens in our country. The National Development Plan will drive this vision where South African young people are skilled, healthy and productive.