The Department of Basic Education says discussions are underway to review and repackage the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI), with a proposed second phase to start later this year.
An announcement will be made by the department once the details have been finalised.
The PYEI, implemented as the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI) across all provinces, came to an end recently.
The initial duration of the programme, which started in December 2020, was four months. This was extended by a month, until the end of April 2021.
Through the initiative, the basic education sector created employment opportunities for more than 320 000 education and general education assistants who were placed in schools across the country.
During the first phase of the BEEI, more than 27 600 school governing body-funded posts at public schools and posts at government subsidised independent schools were saved thanks to the funding it provided.
“These posts came under threat due to schools experiencing financial distress, as a result of parents not being able to pay school fees due to the economic devastation caused by the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19),” the department says.
The BEEI used direct public investment to create employment opportunities and provide support to workers negatively impacted by COVID-19.
“The initiative was funded to the tune of R7 billion... Of this, R4.47 billion was targeted towards providing employment opportunities for the youth.”
Over 868 000 applications were received from youth when the initiative started. Of the more than 320 000 successful candidates, 67% were education assistants and 33% were general school assistants.
Education assistants helped with classroom preparation before lessons, supported teachers during lessons and managed learners after lessons.
General school assistants helped with learner screening and sanitising in the morning and during school hours. They also assisted with integrating information and communication technology in classrooms.