Ramaphosa urges private sector to support youth empowerment

Original article on sabc.co.za | 27 March 2017 | by Tshepo Ikaneng

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the private sector to support government initiatives to transform post-school education and training.  He was speaking at the National Skills Conference in Irene, Pretoria.

Among the conference objectives are the strengthening of the skills development system to enhance productive and decent work opportunities. South Africa’s skills deficit has hampered efforts to improve the country’s competitive edge which is critical for economic development and job creation.

While the overall unemployment rate is about 25%,  among young people it stands at around 60%. Ramaphosa says greater co-operation between the public and the private sector is critical to broaden access to skills development.  He has called for increased investment in Training, Vocational and Education Training (TVET) colleges.

“Training at TVET colleges need to be an attraction proposal for many young persons seeking skills for meaningful job. Industry need to ensure what is taught is relevant to deliver quality education.”

Among the subjects needed to achieve skills that are competitive and in high demand are maths and science. According to the 2016 World Economic Forum (WEF) report on Global Information Technology, the country was ranked last in the quality of these two subjects and almost last, 137 out of 139 countries, in the overall quality of its education system.

Ramaphosa has reminded political leaders of their responsibility to craft a better future for citizens.

“This is the future where our children will learn that hard work and lifelong learning can be rewarded.  As South Africa that must discourage mediocrity.”

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa has condemned the disruption of the Higher Education Convention held in Midrand on Saturday.

Chaos erupted when a group of students dressed in EFF regalia refused Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande an opportunity to speak. There were fist fights between rival student formations which led to the cancellation of the convention. Ramaphosa spoke out against acts of violence during the convention.

“We must condemn the disruption that took place in that convention.  That disorder we saw with chairs flying and water bottles and people being assaulted does nothing to advance the struggle for accessible and quality education.”

Ramaphosa has commended mediation efforts led by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke to address challenges facing higher education.

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