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SA Youth concerned about the effects of downgrade status

June 16, 2017 6:45 AM
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Young people also do not have faith in the government when it comes to “reducing unemployment by creating jobs.”(SABC)

Young people in South Africa do not think that “South Africa will be able to recover from being downgraded to junk status”.

Only 45% of 15-17 year olds and a third (34%) of 18-24 years olds believe that South Africa will recover. These are some of the findings of a recent Pulse of the People™ study undertaken by Ipsos, interviewing 3,598 adults, of which 866 (24%) were younger than 25 years old.

In addition, more than half of young people also agree with the statement “Job creation will slow down because of the downgrade of South Africa’s credit status to ‘junk’”.

Almost six in every 10 (58%) of 15-17 year olds and 55% of 18-24 years olds agree with the statement. More than six in every 10 young people (62%) say that the government is NOT doing well in trying to keep skilled people here and stopping the so-called “brain drain”.

Only about one fifth (19%) of South Africans aged 15 years and older believe that the country is currently going in the right direction. Despite an often-expressed belief that “young people are the future,” the views of young South Africans are not out of kilter with the rest of the country and they are also despondent about the direction the country is heading in.

When asked about problems in the country that should be addressed, the related issues of job creation and education are always mentioned.

Young people in SA bear a disproportionate burden in terms of unemployment, in fact, almost half (44%) of those currently looking for work are below the age of 25.

Young people also do not have faith in the government when it comes to “reducing unemployment by creating jobs” and three-quarters (75%) of 15-17 year olds and 73% of 18-24 years olds say that the government is handling this issue either “not very well” or “not at all well”. They also feel strongly that the government is not doing well in “addressing the educational needs of all South Africans” – six in every ten (61%) of 15-17 year olds and 55% of 18-24 year olds expressed this opinion.

Currently, a large proportion of young people are students, those 15-17 years old are mostly still at school, while more than a third (36%) of 18-24 year olds are also studying (at school or tertiary institutions). For them, it is probably a worry whether they will find employment when finished with their courses or join the others in their age group already looking for work.

A staggering 41% of 18-24 year olds are currently unemployed and looking for work.

An important issue is that many young people are currently busy with or have completed their secondary school education, but that job opportunities for people with these qualifications are limited.

Education experts often say that more technical or vocational training at a secondary school level can alleviate the pressure on tertiary institutions and contribute to job creation.

The table below illustrates that the educational qualifications of young people are generally higher than the average for South Africans, i.e. while four in ten (43%) adult South Africans have completed matric, the corresponding figure for 18-24 year olds is 60%.

Politicians and others interested in the future of the country will ignore at their own peril the despondency of young people about the direction of the country and their views about issues of education and job creation.


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