Unemployment Rate Should Motivate Learners To Stay In School, says Union

unemployment

Teacher's union, NAPTOSA, has expressed its concerns regarding the recently published unemployment stats for the second quarter of 2021. These include the rise in unemployment among the youth, women and the current dropout rate in schools.

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The record high reported official unemployment rate of 34,1% has been a cause for concern for The National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA).

According to a recent statement, the union has also factored in the impact on employment losses as a result of recent protests and violence in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng and adds that it has likely made the situation even worse.

NAPTOSA also mentioned the extent to which the country's worsening unemployment rate has negatively impacted more women than men. This, after the survey showed that unemployment among women was 36,8% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to 32,4% among men.

In Women’s Month 2021, where one of the most atrocious acts of violence against a woman was committed, where crime statistics showed sexual offences skyrocketing, it is just adding to the woes of women to learn that our labour market remains more favourable to men than women

The union went on to express its concern regarding youth unemployment, which has sky-rocketed to an alarming rate of 64,4% for those between 15 and 24 years and 42,9% for the 25 to 34 year old group.

 It is heart-breaking to see that after all the time and effort put in by educators, the employment prospects for the youth are so poor.

However, the union also acknowledged that the majority of those struggling to find employment have qualifications that are below Matric and graduates account for merely 2.4% of those who are unemployed including 7.7% of those with other tertiary qualifications.

NAPTOSA also points out that both the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education has been slow to act on the information provided by the unemployment survey in a way that will effectively address the issue of youth unemployment. 

NAPTOSA finds it peculiar that the Departments of Basic Education (DBE) and Higher Education and Training (DHET), to our knowledge, have never exploited this type of information as “marketing” tools.

They believe that the DBE should use this data to convince learners to remain in school and to encourage those that have dropped out to return to school.

Additionally, the union suggests that DHET should use the information to encourage learners to pursue post-Matric studies, whether academic (in study areas that can contribute to the economy), or non-academic, such as trades.

The Department of Higher Education and Training recently announced that is working on a strategy to combat this issue.

Read more: Dept Developing Strategy For Job Creation & Skills Development

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NSFAS has opened its application season for learners and out-of-school youth who will be studying at public universities and TVET colleges in 2022. However, some applicants have had trouble finding their courses listed on the NSFAS website. 

The end of the 2021 school year is now in sight. There are always many smiling faces during the last week of school. Remember to take this time to make memories and be proud of what you've accomplished this year.