Here's Why BEEI Teaching Assistant Jobs Should Continue


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More than one million employment opportunities were created through the implementation of the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI). While the programme has made a significant contribution to combatting youth unemployment, its implementation is set to come to an end. 


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Young people employed through the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI) at schools will soon complete their roles, as Phase four of the programme concludes September 2023. The Department of Basic Education (DBE), has created over one million employment opportunities for young people across its four phases.

The BEEI saw young people employed at schools around South Africa as  education assistants and general school assistants. 

These roles include Curriculum Assistants, Reading Champions, E-Cadres, Care and Support Assistants, Sports and Enrichment Assistants, and Handymen/Women. These youth were paid a monthly stipend of R4,081.44, aligning with South Africa’s minimum wage.

While the programme's main focus is to combat youth unemployment, the DBE introduced several additional programmes that aimed to ensure BEEI participants receive both soft and hard skills required to succeed in the South African workforce. 

These compulsory training courses aimed to equip BEEI participants with skills relevant to the South African job market, including digital literacy, privacy protection, fact-checking, and advocating for change. Microsoft Office, cybersecurity, and digital technology were also offered at no cost to the participants. 

The DBE also facilitated The PYEI-BEEI entrepreneurial Training which  gave youth information on learning, earning and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Considering the high unemployment rate among South African youth – currently at 63.9% for those aged 15 to 24 – the initiative has played a crucial role in providing job opportunities

Brigit Hannah, Innovation Director at the DG Murray Trust believes the BEEI had a positive impact on the country’s education sector while at the same time working to combat youth unemployment. 

One major aspect of the BEEI is that it gives money directly to young participants, saving on administrative costs and helping those who need it most.  Additionally, participants receive basic training that can lead to more opportunities after the program ends, tackling both joblessness and skills. 

Despite these benefits offered by the BEEI, the youth employment programme’s implementation is set to conclude later this year.

Hannah believes that prioritising funding for the programme's will go a long way in addressing challenges like youth unemployment while also assisting in the education sector. 

One of the important considerations that must be made is how to improve the quality of training and work experience the participants receive. They also want to evaluate how the continued implementation of the BEEI can improve the learner outcomes. This includes improving the literacy rate and supporting after school programmes. 

There so much these young people can do in schools to support our learners as well 

Hannah says the focus should be on how individuals who participated in programmes like the BEEI retain the access to income generating opportunities after completing the programme. 

What is the kind of training we could be doing while a young person is in a very structured environment at a school around perhaps basic entrepreneurship, how could that sustain them when they leave that employment programme. 

While these programmes are extremely beneficial for young people, the national fiscus is under immense pressure. This means that national and provincial treasuries have to make important decisions on whether to continue funding the programme. 

If one looks at both our youth unemployment, 47% of young people are not in education, employment or training, and we look at our learner outcomes, the incredible opportunity of putting young people in a first work experience, giving them that critical work experience in schools where they are able to support our seriously over burdened teachers, it's just such an incredible opportunity that we’ve already seen bore fruit. 

They add that the impact the programme has demonstrated that it should not be discontinued after its fourth and currently final scheduled phase. 

Looming Teacher Shortage 

Studies suggest that South African universities will have to double their current output of qualified teachers to cope with the loss of teachers that will be retiring over the coming decade. 

Hannah believes that many of these young people who are part of the BEEI already know what it means to work in public schools and may even want to pursue a career in teaching after the BEEI programme concludes. 

Suggested Article:

Teaching assistant attends to learners during a class session

Phase 4 of the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI), particularly the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI), is currently underway according to the Basic Education Department. This sees unemployed youth take on the role of teacher assistants and general school assistants.






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