The Basic Education Department says its Presidential Youth Employment Stimulus has created more than 300,000 teaching assistant jobs and saved more than 25,000 more.
In a statement on Monday, the Department’s spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, said the Basic Education sector created a total of 319,091 opportunities for youths aged between 18 and 35.
Stimulus ends on 31 March
The stimulus also saved 25,950 jobs in independent schools that were experiencing financial distress as a result of COVID-19, which meant that many parents were not able to pay school fees.
The stimulus is part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidential Employment Stimulus, which he announced in October last year as part of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.
“The programme, whose aim was to use direct public investment to create opportunities for employment and to provide support to workers negatively impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, comes to an end on 31 March 2021,” Mhlanga said.
The sector received more than 868,000 applications, an indication of the high levels of youth unemployment in South Africa. Of the 300,000 successful applicants, 200,000 were Education Assistants and 100,000 were General School Assistants.
The teaching assistants received training in various skills, including Curriculum, ICT, Infrastructure, Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCW), and Reading Champions, to improve their employability.
Funding and stipends
The stimulus received funding amounting to R7 billion, of which R6.998 billion was disbursed to the provinces “as an equitable share,” Mhlanga explained.
He added, “A large portion of this, which is R4.47 billion, was targeted towards providing employment opportunities for the youth. Of the R4.47 billion, one percent was allocated towards training and another one percent towards UIF for each youth employed in the programme.”
He said the Department has taken steps to ensure that all stipends due to the teaching assistants are paid, and acknowledged that three provinces – Limpopo, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal – have experienced payment delays.
“Delays in payment in some areas were due to the capturing of the Education and General Education Assistants onto the government payment system, the PERSAL, or incorrect banking and incomplete personal documentation. Provinces transferred funds to schools as the stipends were paid by schools,” Mhlanga said.
“Through Provinces, the school principals were encouraged to process all stipends timeously, ensuring that the correct amounts are paid to young people.”