Government hasn’t forgotten about the youth of South Africa. So much so that The Presidency created the National Youth Plan 2020 (NYP). The draft, which was approved by Cabinet on Thursday, focuses on how to improve certain areas of the lives of young people. Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Buti Manamela said in this year’s budget vote speech: “The essence of the National Youth Policy is to provide a hand-up instead of a hand-out”.
Here, we look at four areas which the NYP addresses and look at what they mean for young people.
What does the NYP say about…Unemployment?
Well, it seeks to increase public service internships by 60 000. This is a way to combat the rise of youth unemployment, which currently sits at 67%* . I’m sure you’d agree that’s a lot of people and that percentage, according to the Labour Force Survey of 2014, excludes those who have just plain given up looking for work. Goitse Konopi, an assistant researcher in the Presidency says, “The plan [to add 60 000 public service internships] is to be implemented across all three spheres of government departments, while also focusing on skills development and mentorship”. He also adds: “There is a worrying misconception that the youth either don’t work hard, or are not skilled. The main point however is the skills that are required”.
But as you know, this all starts with education. So…
What does the NYP say about…Education?
It wants the Department of Basic Education and Department of Higher Education and Training to pull the brakes on early school leavers and wants adequate interventions in place for in case that happens. For example, should someone decide to call it quits after Grade 10, a system should be in place to get them in a technical college.
It also wants to provide a second chance to those who dropped out of school in order to make sure they can compete in the labour market. “The NYP 2020 proposes second chance opportunities for young people to acquire basic education as a stepping stone for decent work and sustainable livelihoods,” says Deputy Minister Buti Manamela.
What does the NYP say about…Youth Services?
This deals with youth organisations like the National Youth Development Agency. R2.7 billion will be set aside to finance youth-owned companies. According to the Deputy Minister, the National Youth Development Agency received R409 million for the delivery of youth services.
What does the NYP say about…Leadership and Social Cohesion?
Government would like us to have an all-for-one-and-one-for-all mentality and be a supportive unit for one another. Says Konopi: “Social cohesion and leadership are extremely important among the youth. Of late the criminal attacks and the looting of stores that has taken place was largely driven by the youth. In order to prevent such occurrences from happening again, youth leaders in schools, communities and institutions of higher learning should stand up and provide the leadership to their peers”.
*As found in the National Youth Policy 2015-2019
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