More emphasis needs to be placed on skills development and the creation of academic and work opportunities for young people, said Deputy Minister of Education and Training Hlengiwe Mkhize.
Speaking at the signing of the Joint Declaration on Education and Training Sectoral Policy Dialogue Forum between South Africa and the European Commission, Mkhize said the department had a mandate to ensure that there was a planned skills development programme in the country.
Although the department had policies on skills development in place, it needed international partnerships to ensure that the policies were resourced and effectively implemented, she said.
Commenting on Statistics South Africa’s Quarter 1, 2012 Labour Force Survey which shows that the current unemployment rate stands at 25, 2 percent with 4,5 million South Africans being unemployed, Mkhize said the situation required South Africans, especially the youth, to be equipped with the relevant skills to grow the economy.
“… The benefits of this Dialogue Forum are many. It allows us equal footing,” Mkhize said. “…Through its many pursuits, it is therefore the right avenue to assist us as policy makers, in not only building greater people-to-people camaraderie between South Africa and the European Commission, amongst others, but also to find concrete solutions for the youth unemployability that has afflicted us,” the Deputy Minister concluded.
The signing of the joint declaration took place on the sidelines of the conference on “African Higher Education Harmonisation: Tuning and Shaping Responsive and Quality Postgraduate Education” at the University of the Western Cape.