The Department of Basic Education is considering a second phase of its Presidential Youth Employment Initiative, which created 320,000 teaching assistant jobs across South Africa.
The employment stimulus started in December 2020 and is set to end on 30 April 2021 following a one-month extension at the end of March.
Contracts won’t be renewed
In a statement on Friday, the Department’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said contracts for the 320,000 Education and General Education Assistants will not be extended.
“Instead, discussions are underway to review and repackage the initiative with a proposed second phase to commence later this year. An announcement will be made once all the details have been finalised,” he added.
Mhlanga said recruitment adverts currently being published by some provinces, including Limpopo and Gauteng, are not linked to the Basic Education Employment Initiative.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the Presidential Employment Stimulus in October last year as part of the government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP).
The basic education sector received more than 868,000 applications for teaching assistant jobs, an indication of the high levels of youth unemployment in South Africa.
Of the successful applicants, 67 percent were Education Assistants and 33 percent were General School Assistants.
27,600 jobs saved
Mhlanga said the sector’s initiative also saved 27,600 School Governing Body-funded posts in public and government-subsidised independent schools.
“These posts came under threat due to schools experiencing financial distress as a result of parents not being able to pay school fees because of the economic devastation of COVID-19,” he explained.
The stimulus received R7 billion in funding, of which R6.998 billion was disbursed to the provinces as an equitable share.
Mhlanga 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.”