South-Africa is currently struggling with a large unemployment amongst the youth. The National Development Plan has identified a number of policy interventions to improve youth employment. In your view, what are the causes of youth unemployment and what should government do to improve the levels of youth employment? Identify the pros and cons of each of your proposals.
“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime” (Chinese proverb)
The ultimate dream: work hard in school, get a degree, get a job, make tons of money, buy a big house and a fancy car, get married, have children and live happily ever after. This dream of so many South-African citizens is being crushed by something - unemployment.
Unemployment can be defined as the number of people who are available for, and actively seeking work, but cannot find any (VAN DER MERWE, 2012). Several questions arise: Why is the youth unemployment level so high? Who is to blame? The government? The worldwide economic crisis? Poverty? The private sector?
Some shocking discoveries made by (DAN, 2011) is that the number of youths living in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase by almost 20 million. (NGUBENI, 2013) states that the youth unemployment statistics are very concerning. Statistics SA shares that in the third quarter of 2012 the unemployment rate of the youth was 36% and in that timeline, the youth (people between 15 – 34 years of age) was about 3.3 million in South-Africa. What is the contributing factor to this increase in youth unemployment?
Causes of youth unemployment
One of the main causes of unemployment is poor education. Education fails because it cannot equip students with the necessary skills needed for their specific field of training. Now, the question arises, who is to blame for this failing in the education system? High schools? The tertiary sector, like universities or the private sector? (WEBER, 2012) is of the opinion that businesses, universities and schools, governments and non-governmental organisations fails to communicate about what they need and what they can deliver. He is also of the opinion that universities are to slow in adopting to change. He says that when a business says they need graduates with a certain skill, it takes them (universities) two years or more to change their course. With technology that is constantly fast changing, by the time the university changed its curriculum, the skills are not applicable anymore. (SERCOMBE, 2013) states that the youth should take charge of their own future, and not to expect the government to do everything for them. I think this is unfair. There are youth in South-Africa that have nothing, they were born in poverty and they grew up in poverty, how could one expect them to have a decent education without help from the government?
Resolving unemployment among the youth
(NGUBENI, 2013) states that the unemployment among the youth is very serious, yet there appear to be no sense of urgency dealing with it. (NGUBENI, 2013) argues that community based projects can solve youth unemployment. 3.1
(Games, 2012) is of the opinion that the youth should be given the opportunity by teaching them communication skills, such as computer literacy, online journalism and creative writing. The pro of this solution is, through this, it provides them with a voice so that they can use it to improve their lives and increase their relevance in their communities. The con of this solution is that in order to teach, and be able to use modern day technology, one needs money. Money is scarce, so this proposal wouldn’t be as effective as one would wish. 3.2
Developing entrepreneurial skills
Another way to decrease youth unemployment is to give attention, and develop entrepreneurship skills (MOKONYANE, 2012). (MOKONYANE, 2012) also states that entrepreneurship is...
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