South Africa has made enormous strides in youth development over the past two decades, said Minister in the Presidency responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe.
“That is why over the past 20 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa we gave education the highest budget allocation more than any other departmental budget vote,” Minister Radebe said on Monday.
Speaking during the Youth Month launch in Soweto, he said by 1994 only 150 000 African students were enrolled in higher education and by 2012 over 750 000 African students were enrolled and the increases were reflected across the black majority.
“Government bursaries for higher education have been increased from R21 million in 1994 to R8 billion in 2013, offered through the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS),” Minister Radebe said.
Addressing a marquee filled to capacity by young people, Minister Radebe called on the youth to assist in bringing about radical economic transformation by taking a step to participate in personal economic development.
“The youth must be found in farming, in ICT, in the financial institutions, in the media, in engineering, in sports, in cultural activities and all other activities that constitute the economy of our country,” he said.
Minister Radebe said Cabinet has approved the National Youth Policy 2020 which seeks to address the youth development agenda, economic participation and transformation.
Other areas it addresses included education, skills development, health care as well as anti-substance abuse and nation building.
“I will encourage you to study the National Youth Policy 2020 and see for yourself the opportunities that avail to you for your own development as the youth of this country,” Minister Radebe said.
He said by the end of last year government had spent over R730 million to support over 15 000 youth enterprises.
“I am confident that the establishment of the Small Business Development Department will further consolidate expansion of youth entrepreneurship,” Minister Radebe said.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the provincial government was repositioning the economy of Gauteng so that young people are the new gold.
“The new gold is the young ones that are here, they are the ones who are going to create jobs, they are the ones that are going to be innovative, they are the ones who will be business people and they are the ones that are going to present the skills we need.
“We don’t want these young ones to apply for social grants, we want the social grants for these young ones to be their mental capability so that they can have their own social grants from their own pockets and not from government,” he said.
MEC Lesufi said the provincial government did not want young people to be queuing for RDP houses but want them to be equipped with information so they can own their own houses.
“We want these young ones … when they fill a form and are asked how much do you earn, we want these young ones to cancel that part and say we don’t earn a salary, we pay salaries,” he said.
The Gauteng cabinet has taken a decision for the top three matriculants in each school to receive a bursary to study at a higher education institution for four years.
Every pupil in Grade 11 will also be required to get a driver’s license as a skill.
MEC Lesufi said as of next year, students who dropped out of university because of financial difficulties or because they were pregnant will also get bursaries to further their education at an institution for higher education as part of the Second Chance programme.
This year marks 39 years since the 16 June 1976 uprisings, 21 years since South Africa attained freedom and 60 years since the adoption of the Freedom Charter.
The Youth Month activities will run under the theme “Youth Moving South Africa Forward”.
Source : SAnews.gov.za