Effective training for job creation in the South African education system
Erasmus, Johannes Cornelius
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It is generally accepted that the quality of a country's labour force is a crucial factor in successful competition in the global economy. South Africa's richness in human resources unfortunately does not in itself make us a winning nation. Because of the low educational attainment of our labour force, we have to compete in the global economy at a disadvantage. The global labour market is characterised by constant change (benefiting skilled workers) and the progressive destruction of jobs (affecting in particular semiskilled and unskilled workers). The purpose of the study is to investigate the structural changes taking place in the workplace, the effects thereof on the demand for human resources, and how education and training in South Africa can respond to these changes to the benefit of individuals, organisations and the country as a whole. An intensive literature survey cast light on the development of economies, how such development influences the demand for worker skills and how different nations have attempted to meet the requirements of their productive systems through appropriate education and training. South Africa's economy, labour problems and strategies to enhance human capital and create jobs were also examined. Consistent with trends observed in the advanced economies of the world, the pattern of activity in the South African economy has shifted from the primary and secondary sectors to the tertiary and service sectors, shedding jobs requiring lower levels of skills and creating jobs for highly qualified workers. A historical overview of the provision of education and training in South Africa highlights how apartheid policies contributed to vast disparities in the skills levels of the different population groups in South Africa. Many innovative measures to enhance skills levels and job creation have been introduced since 1994 by the democratically elected government. These measures were evidently informed by the experience of other countries. The formidable task of implementing these measures or strategies successfully is exacerbated by the fact that the different provinces in South Africa are in different stages of economic development and have different educational outputs, leading to differences in the skills levels of their respective labour forces. Research on how unemployed people participate in the labour market served as the basis for the empirical input to the study. The data collected in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape were interpreted to ascertain how such people interact with the labour market in these provinces. The survey results revealed that the effects of low educational levels, people's interaction with the labour market, their job interest and the way job creation strategies are implemented may influence the efficacy of strategies to enhance people's skill levels and to create jobs. Factors influencing the demand for labour and factors that may impact on the success of education and training interventions were considered in the construction of a model to prioritise skills formation strategies. The model should be a versatile planning tool for identifying target groups, and for prioritising and implementing skills development strategies in the context of local socio-economic structures, as well as in the context of the national socio-economic structure and the global economy. As proposals for job creation by experts throughout the world have not been able to arrest increasing unemployment rates, it would be presumptuous to claim that this study provides a solution to the problem. Never the less, ways need to be found to optimise the impact of skills formation and job creation efforts. The following recommendations are made on the basis of the findings of the present study: • The structural and attitudinal changes taking place in the workplace should be investigated and workplace demands should be matched with the skills needed by workers. • Efficient, modern systems of administration staffed by technically competent officials should be established to manage the implementation of skills formation and job creation strategies. • A close relationship should be established between government, business and labour. • All persons over the age of 15 years who enter the labour market (and those who are already in the labour market) without the prospect of becoming employed should be registered as job seekers. • All young people should have a minimum of 12 years general education and enhanced forms of technical education. • Educational and training institutions should disabuse learners of the idea that they have to be dependent on someone else to give them a job. • The general and further education and training system should provide learners with the basic skills in mathematics, language, science and technology required by industry. • Qualified mathematics and science teachers should receive recognition through higher salaries. • Appropriate assistance should be provided to education leavers and to the unemployed. • The basic skills of those already in jobs should be improved. • Employers should be assisted on how to organise and implement workplace training. • Organisations should double their investment in training to at least 2% of their payrolls.
- Education