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Government to tackle growing education, unemployment

Millions of South Africans tuned in on 14 February to view and listen to President Jacob Zuma’s 2013 State of the Nation address (SONA). It was not only the celebration of Valentine’s Day that had hearts aflutter but the numerous interventions, programmes and announcements that Zuma made to move the country forward.

The crest of South Africa’s parliament: President Jacob Zuma delivered the 2013 SONA, revealing a number of key initiatives to help the country through a difficult economic period.

Zuma made specific mention of the National Development Plan (NDP), a proposal to jolt the economy back into sustainable growth path. He cited the Eurozone crisis as being one of the reasons for a downturn in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as Europe is one of South Africa’s major trading partners. A GDP of around five percent will be needed to achieve the targets of the NDP. “The National Development Plan outlines interventions that can put the economy on a better footing. The target for job creation is set at 11 million by 2030 and the economy needs to grow threefold to create the desired jobs. We will engage business, labour and other social partners in pursuit of solutions,” he says.

In other economic matters, Zuma touched on the jobs fund, for which a staggering three billion rand has been set aside. Government has acknowledged that, with just over a third of the population being under the age of 15, an unemployment crisis is looming on the horizon. An agreement will be signed with the National Economic and Development Labour Council later this month to empower the youth. “State-owned companies provide apprenticeships and learnerships and we urge that these be increased. We appeal to the private sector to absorb 11 000 FET graduates who are awaiting placements. The Department is also planning nine rural youth hubs per province, including in the 23 poorest districts in the country,” Zuma says.

Education was another key aspect of his speech. The Annual National Assessments at schools was mentioned, with Zuma calling it “a powerful tool of assessing the health of our education system.” He admitted that more had to be done to improve math, science and technology and revealed that the Department of Basic Education would be establishing a national task team to strengthen the implementation of these subjects. Prof Vuyisile Msila from the Department of Educational Leadership and Management at Unisa says teachers do not get adequate training in these fields. “More meaningful intervention is necessary and the president is spot on when he says math, science and technology should get special attention. But training should focus more on teachers. Empowered teachers would be able to empower their learners,” he says.

Msila is of the opinion that Unisa can play a major role in solving some of education crises in South Africa, with the president divulging the success that adult and childhood education programmes have had thus far. “As an ODL institution Unisa is in an enviable position. It can reach as many students through its mixed mode delivery. Although currently we might experience the paradox of saying that the distant rural student might be disadvantaged, the fact of the matter is that more students will be empowered in the long run and irrespective of where they reside, they will be able to study,” says Msila.

An announcement that many educators would have paid attention to was the Presidential Remuneration Commission. The commission will be established to investigate the appropriateness of the remuneration and conditions of service provided by the state to all its employees. However Msila argues that higher salaries alone will not improve teaching. The evaluation of teachers needs to be taken seriously. When teachers are not properly appraised, it will be very difficult to improve their practice.  On the other hand, teacher training institutions need to instill the sense of teacher leadership among teachers. Higher remuneration of teachers can be most welcomed, but it alone will not compensate for the problems that schools face,” he says.

10 comments to Government to tackle growing education, unemployment


    There is too much incompetence people are greedy they not responding and accountable.Talking from experience…UNEMPLOYMENT NATIONAL DIPLOMA OF SECRETARY graduated long time ago but still unemployment….

  • Fidel

    Really now? people are actual discussin about the PATHETIC STATE OF THE NATION ADRESS. What did zuma say that he has not said before come on people the is no future for s.a with this current cluless, corrupt “leadership” who are only enrichen themselves on tax payers money. And am very positive that they are going to win the elections next year and the very same people who voted them into power will be making noise.

  • Mzi

    I hope the implementation of plans to reduce unemployment of young will be a reality in the forthcoming year. I doubt our government and private sector an idea of the impact of the youth as it does not directly because their children and immediate families get employment immediately upon leaving school. Unemployment, especially will remain a dark cloud hanging over the progress and economic success of this country. Young people turn to drugs and alcohol and then crime to feed their habits because they are bored, despondent, hopeless because all their attempts to find jobs are met with rejection because they do not have necessary experience and/or not related to whoever is reponsible for recruiting.

  • Doctor2

    Once again, the State of the Nation fails the Nation! With absolutely no strategic implementation plan in place, this speech just perpetuates the talk shops that are so notorious of this completely inept government. Good luck to Agang, even though it might just be another talk shop!

  • Given Mtsweni

    The development we need is a sustainable one not just these other initiatives whereby you get a seta intership for period of six months and with a company who doesn’t have the relevent platform to give right experience where they are just happy to be funded my government. There is too much incompetence people are greedy they not responsible and accountable. Talking from experience.UNEMPLOYMENT

    Given Mtsweni Bachelor of accounting sciences student former college graduate in financial accounting

  • Zakheo E Nalepago.

    Unemployment,especially young black South African the percentage has reached unprecedented levels whereby the state talks about the leaders of tomorrow.let the state empower us not with money but with the skill then we have the future and education is the key for the future….The government must open every door for us scrap these bereaucratic systems that kills rich mind of young South Africans.

  • Zakheo

    Let us take part and build this country with a solid education because A NATION WITHOUT EDUCATION IS A DOOMED NATION,at all spheres of the state we contribute and the state must look after people who are pushing hard for this country.

  • Lebogang sylvester chisanga

    Thumbs up! Youth empowerment is a crucial issue, as a young South African myself (20) hearing the president touch on that issue it motivates me to say go to school the government has a plan for us young people. . . but i need to empower myself before the government can empower me.
    Overall the SONA was on spot thou opposition parties will try and look for a loophole in the SONA to pry on.

    Lebogang Sylvester Chisanga
    (Archives and rec managemnt student)

  • Doctor

    Spot on indeed! If educators and FET lecturers are not remunerated accordingly, they will obviously leave the department for private sector, leaving the whole education system without good quality educators and lecturers. I am a maths and science lecturer at FET college with a BSc in Mathematical Statistics, I have produced good results in maths and science(I have studied advanced maths and science skills), but because I am regarded as underqualified in the department of education, I am being underpaid. As soon as I get a good offer from private sector I am prepared to leave my lecturing job. Please may the Presidential Remuneration Commission be established, so that the country does not loose good lecturers and educators.

  • hi

    this country of ours needs its own inveters and innovators, skillls programme and experts together with professional to practically work together to achieve a common goal, of which is to advance our economy in many ways and direction at large, i thanks you.

    (Chemical Engineer Student) and Support Function in Information Technology.

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