SA needs to explore socio-economic reactions to its budget allocation for education and development: IQbusiness

SA needs to explore socio-economic reactions to its budget allocation for education and development: IQbusiness

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WITH South Africa’s inequality, low levels of quality education, lack of access, high poverty levels and marginal social development, it was highly recommended that the country explored the socio-economic responsiveness of its current budget appropriation for the education and development programmes, said IQbusiness chief economist.

Sifiso Skenjana, who is also the country’s independent management consulting firm’s Thought Leadership Executive said that it was further recommended that the country moved towards having a sub-national/provincial view of the socio-economic responsiveness in order to possess the scope and insights to inform more targeted interventions within the appropriation process.

“Our pursuit, therefore, has to emphasise that in a resource-constrained environment which has been particularly worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic, impact-based budget appropriation has to be a way forward in order to accelerate against the fulfilment of true development for the South African youth,” said Skenjana.

He said that many monitoring and evaluation tools simply target the fulfilment against certain metrics without having a qualified view on the impact that the metric has on youth development.

The economist said that it further lacked in showcasing opportunities for the youth to take advantage of thereby denying their rightful place as owners of the country’s future. “Now more than ever, impact has to be at the centre of all our efforts.”

Skenjana wrote this in the foreword of the new IQbusiness Youth Progress Index and Report released on Thursday which found that education and internet access hold the key for youth opportunities.

IQbusiness chief executive Adam Craker said with the relevant data, government and business could be empowered to plan for and build an equitable and sustainable society for all South African youth.

Developed in conjunction with the global NGO Social Progress Imperative, report identified the main factors which perpetuate South Africa’s extremely high youth unemployment rate. Craker said that this year’s report made the depressing but obvious conclusion that the youth of South Africa have very limited access to opportunities.

It considered various factors which included basic human needs, foundations of well-being and opportunity. Basic human needs assessed young people’s ability to survive with adequate nourishment and basic medical care, clean water, sanitation, adequate shelter, and personal safety.

These were considered foundations of well-being which captured whether the society did offer building blocks for young people to improve their lives, while looking into whether young people had the freedom and opportunity to make their own choices.

These dimensions were measured on a national and regional level through a range of outcome-based indicators that were youth-specific in nature. Throughout the Index, a score of 100 represents the ideal utopia that we are striving for in the long term.

At a sub-national level, the Western Cape at 65.44 and Gauteng at 60.51 stood apart from the rest of South Africa on youth progress scores, while Mpumalanga was third at 53.15.

The “Foundations of Well-being” dimension was a strong contributor to the overall performance of the Western Cape and Gauteng, where they scored 78.35 and 71.81 respectively. These figures indicated that both provinces had relatively better success in their quest to provide their youth with access to basic knowledge, information and healthcare while providing a satisfying environment for youth to live in.

Basic human needs and foundations of well-being had also improved on average across all provinces over the past 6 years while indicators for the opportunity dimension reveal an alarming decline since 2015.

Opportunity scores ranked particularly low for youth in the Eastern Cape at 32.43 and North West at 30.09 indicating that South African youth there were unsatisfied with the degree of personal rights, freedom and choice available to them in both provinces. These scores also outlined poor access to advanced education in both regions.

Cracker said that the limited access that South African youth had to advanced education was a critical factor that blocked young people’s opportunities.

IQbusiness said that a good place to start to address these issues would be to embrace and adopt technology to enhance earning potential by exposing the youth to a wide virtual market where they could leverage their skills for employment. It said however that the successful deployment of technological tools depended almost exclusively on adequate internet access.

“Alarmingly, as Stats SA has found, on average only 9.3percent of households have internet access in South Africa across metropolitan, urban and rural homes in all nine provinces. This can and must change in order for our youth to start competitively and meaningfully participate in the global digital economy.”

Cracker said that a cohesive national digital transformation policy that unified both public and private players behind a singular objective of promoting digital enablement in education and entrepreneurship would be essential to improve youth developmental outcomes in South Africa over the next 10 years.

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