SABC News - Hope on the horizon for future entrepreneurs:Thursday 10 August 2017

Hope on the horizon for future entrepreneurs

Thursday 10 August 2017 20:08

Esther Kalu

The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose slightly to 36.6 percent in the second quarter .

The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose slightly to 36.6% in the second quarter.(SABC)

The number of people out of work in the country remains stubbornly high. Figures released from Statistics South Africa this week show that the jobless rate remained unchanged in the second quarter at 27.7 %.

This amounts to 6.17 million working age people without jobs in the three months to end of June.

The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose slightly to 36.6% in the second quarter and the Youth Unemployment Rate in South Africa increased to 55.90% in the second quarter of this year.

Elize Kruger, a senior economist at NKC African Economics, says the unemployment rate in the country tells us the story of a South African economy that is stuck at the moment.

"We are stuck in a low growth environment and the unemployment is stuck at a very high level, where it’s a very negative place especially with so much inequality means dire environment for a lot of people", she says.

High school pupils are already getting worried about what opportunities will be available for them when they finish their matric, with the prospect of competing with older workers and navigating the job market.  

Adding to that is the recent proposal by the Basic Education Department to lower the pass mark for Grade 7-9 learners from 50% to 40% and scrapping the requirement that learners pass math in order to pass the grade if they don't intend on taking the subject all the way to matric.

The department also wants the pass mark for four subjects to lower to 30% and for the pass marks for the three other subjects, including home languages, to be set at 40%.

One of the learners at McAuley House High school says that a lower percentage pass rate would make it even more difficult for them to get into university.  

"It is demotivating because you don’t have to work so hard, if the pass mark is just 30%", she says.

The school, however, offers different entrepreneurial programs for pupils from grade 9 to 11, in conjunction with Non-governmental Organizations which are sponsored by different funders from the private sector.

One of the programs at that school is organized by Junior Achievement South Africa.  Last year grade 10-11 learners presented decorative jars made from recycled material and won first prize, which included a cash prize for their school, flights for the team to Harare, Zimbabwe to compete in a Regional Company of the Year competition.

We have a very high unemployment rate in our country and we do need more entrepreneurs

Tania Willoughbu, an accounting teacher at the school says, Pupils who were part of the program seem to know more about the subject than their peers. However, they need to share what they have learnt from the program with the others who were not there."  

She says this year more pupils have joined the programs because of how well the school performed.

One of the pupils who have been involved in the program since last year says entrepreneurial programs are essential for all primary and high school pupils.

"We have very high unemployment rate in our country and we do need more entrepreneurs.  These programs give you a seed that will sprout once you are out there, you might come up with an idea that will enable you to employ many other people", she says.

She says pupils should join these kinds of programs because they “learn skills on how to deal with the business world but also how to deal with people in general, how you tackle situations and challenges and how you as a person can work in a team".

Because not everyone obtains a university entrance, leaving them with a basic matric education, one of the most viable options for matriculants is entrepreneurship, with its ability to create jobs, generate taxable income and provide growth.

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