GETTING TECHNICAL: School leavers have been urged to opt for technical jobs by MEC for education, Barbara Creecy.
A technical education is the answer to the shortage of jobs in the country, says the Gauteng education department which on Wednesday launched the technical schools turnaround strategy.
The idea is to encourage school leavers, who would otherwise join the ranks of the millions of unemployed, to opt for technical skills rather than obtain university degrees in careers where there are few job prospects.
Education MEC Barbara Creecy, who launched the programme at the John Orr Technical High School yesterday, said: “It will ensure more young people leave school with the knowledge and skills they need to find a place in an institution of higher learning or find decent work in our province’s economy. It will also ensure a steady supply of appropriately skilled employees.”
The department is working together with several private companies (Sasol Inzalo Foundation, Imperial and Ukhamba Community Development Trust) and Wits University and the University of Johannesburg in the plan.
The initiative will be implemented in 41 technical high schools throughout Gauteng.
The country’s economy needs to grow by about 7% a year over 10 years to make a dent in the high unemployment rate, Creecy said.
She said this was tough, as the economy only managed to register growth of less than 3% for most of last year. Creecy said the project would produce more than 5500 matriculants a year with appropriate skills and workplace experience.
“If we are to make a meaningful impact on skills creation, we need to increase the number of technically trained pupils who are ready to make a contribution to the economic growth of the country,” she said.
The MEC also said all 41 schools in the programme would be declared schools for focused education and would recruit pupils who performed well in maths, science and technology from surrounding schools.
They will also improve career awareness through greater cooperation and contact between technical schools and industry, dispel negative perceptions about technical high schools and remodel technical education as a first choice for the best pupils and their parents.
A Grade 12 pupil at the school, Khumo Modise, was impressed by the programme, saying: “When we leave school we will be better skilled and equipped and ready for work.”