SOS Children’s Villages South Africa is advocating for support in education, as a request that resulted from listening to children.
Children appealed for education support that included subject choice and career pathing and more information about institutions for skills training.
They, raised concerns about poor availability of institutions, lack of education resources at school (textbooks and libraries), challenges with difficult subjects (peer-to-peer support, teacher support, tutorials & study material) and poor parental support.
When learners make critical decisions that will affect their higher education as well as their future careers, they need help from parents or guardians, career and student counselors from their schools and higher education institutions so that they can consider carefully, the options that will determine their career paths. They should make informed choices of fields they would like to pursue, based on researched information and ensure that their grade 10 subject choices will enable them to enter the career fields of their choice.
Many institutions of higher learning and other non-government institutions offer services of career guidance and children need support to access these career development services.
Examples of career development services:
- The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) working with Departments of Higher Education and Training and Basic Education launched a Career Advice Service in 2011 and has a website, a career advice help-line called Khetha, guidance materials and a radio program on nine regional radio stations.
- A program called the Macro Informative Youth Agency.
- PACE Career Centre (provides accredited career guidance training for career practitioners and offers a wide range of career related products and services) and others.
The other challenge that the South African education has faced is the high failure rate and poor progression of children to the next class especially in high schools. Repetition rates are known to be high from Grade 9 up to Grade 11, with Grade 10 having recorded the highest levels, at 22% in 2017.
Many learners who could not be progressed further to grade 12 fell out of the system without matric and are then less likely to find employment.
Currently, there is a high dropout rate before Grade 12, peaking in Grades 10 and 11. Approximately a third of young people aged 15-24 years (3.4 million) are not in employment, education or training (NEET) and 2 million of whom have not finished Grade 12.
The high dropout rate problem is associated with rising unemployment. Stats SA’s Q1 2019 report for unemployed youth between ages 15-24 who have academic qualifications below matric is at 58.4%.
“YesChild – we need support in education,” emphasizes the importance of increasing the support that duty bearers and other stakeholders give to children. The ultimate goal is that learners are provided with adequate information, resources and tools to be able to learn effectively and to eventually pursue the careers of their choices and abilities.