Skills development on the decline according to new StatsSA figures


A new survey by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA), has found that the level of skills development among young black Africans, aged 25-34, has only shown a three percent improvement since 1994, compared to 26% for Indian/Asians and 19% for Whites.

“The skills level is not doing what it should among blacks, while whites and Indians are moving aggressively on this front,” StatsSA statistician-general, Pali Lehohla, said of the findings tabled in the report “Youth Employment, Unemployment, Skills and Economic Growth 1994-2014” that was released on Monday.

He mentioned the poor quality of education for black children as the main reason, adding that by matric, the country would have lost almost half its cohorts entering school.

The survey also found that the black workforce made up 43% of low-skilled workers in 1994. By 2014, this figure had declined to 34%, while semi-skilled workers improved by six percentage points to 48%.

Lehola also noted that the reasons for the insufficient development of skills included the legacy of apartheid, the closure of teacher training institutions, the ineffective merging of educational institutions, and the ineffectiveness of outcome-based education.

The decline was also found to have been spurred by ineffective teaching and bad subject choices, weak administration, the unwillingness of businesses to invest in employee training, and parents not playing the required role in their children’s education.

With South Africa’s unemployment rate currently standing at 25%, the survey found young people made up 75% of this figure, and while unemployment increased for all races aged 20 years and above, the figure for blacks went down from 43% in 1994, to 40% in 2014.


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