Job Creation: A Summary of 2012’s Proposed Solutions So Far

The rate at which jobs are increasing in South Africa is really slow. According to Business Day, the average rate of increase since 2001 is 0.5% per year. Taking into consideration the increase in the employable, job-seeking population, measuring jobs increases by average percentage of people employed seems more accurate than giving a fixed amount, like “624 000 in the past 10 years”. Six hundred and twenty four thousand jobs in ten years is not a lot no matter which way you look at it, but let’s say it is better than nothing.

Real efforts have to be made by the South African government regarding labour regulation and policies affecting investor sentiment for the country to reach its job creation target for 2020. But with 25% of South Africans are unemployed (according to Statistics SA), the future seems bleak.

The Business Day article cites Frans Cronje, who proposes three policy reforms that would be necessary for government to meet its 2020 targets:

1) Policies regarding any requirements of racial referencing should be dismantled, as they prevents SA from using the skills it already has and can deter investors and damage entrepreneurship.

2) Labour regulations should be reduced.

3) The minister of education should be made the authority of policies for schools. At the moment, the head of the major teachers union is able to veto policy decisions, but the focus should be on giving every child an education and the opportunity to contribute to the economy.

According to Bekezela Phakathi and Karl Gernetzky, the state should invest more in education, but, more importantly, should look for better results in the education sector. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said that most funds are directed towards education, health and social assistance. Spending on education will grow with 6.7%, on average, in three years, but this is less than the growth of the previous three years. Furthermore, the R207 billion that SA will invest in education in 2012-2013 will probably also show similar poor returns of previous years. The focus should be shifted to how the money is spent and not how much they plan to invest.

Jackie Carroll says that adult education is another key to SA’s job dilemma. She says that there are so many problems with education that many solutions just muddy the waters without fixing anything. One major problem should be isolated and fixed before moving onto the next. She says that the Department of Higher Education and Training’s green paper on adult education shows that the opportunities for adults are too limited to meet the needs of the economy and the workers. People in rural areas have the highest rate of unemployment and they require the most attention.

The community-based organizations (CBO) in these areas have the ability to train millions of people who need and want to better themselves and find jobs. The focus should be on sustainability and jobs can also be created for teachers in these CBOs. The programs offered should focus on qualifications that the people will be able to use. There should be quality education that is not necessarily part of the National Qualifications Framework.

Clear and strong direction of funds in education seems to be the over-ruling necessity to better the chances of people becoming successful contributors to the economy. There should be less emphasis on who can work where and how, and more on bettering everyone’s chances at finding a job.

Sandy writes on behalf of Oxbridge Academy, which promotes education in Southern Africa, including accounting courses.

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