Panel 6: Social Issues and Political Economy

P6.1 Schooling as an Economic Growth Constraint

Prof Servaas van der Berg, University of Stellenbosch

Summary: Education plays a critical role in the economy. South Africa has various education constraints, discussed in this commentary, that impede employment growth. These include the poor quality of early education and too few youths completing post-school education and training. The writer interrogates the causes of these constraints and recommends policy intervention programmes including more effective tools to measure the progress of students, improved access to computer-based subjects, greater accountability for principles and increased parental involvement.

"Education constraints relate to both the fact that too few South African youths complete post-school education and training, particularly university degrees, and the poor quality of education early in the school career, which limits the ability of children to learn to their full potential."

- Prof Servaas van der Berg, University of Stellenbosch

"Education constraints relate to both the fact that too few South African youths complete post-school education and training, particularly university degrees, and the poor quality of education early in the school career, which limits the ability of children to learn to their full potential."

- Prof Servaas van der Berg, University of Stellenbosch

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P6.2 How to Deal with South Africa’s Jobs Bloodbath

Ann Bernstein, Centre for Development and Enterprise

Summary: It is critical to grasp the depth and scale of the unemployment crisis in South Africa, explore its causes and urgently implement the necessary reforms. Illustrating the severity and multi-generational nature of unemployment in South Africa, this commentary explores why economic growth is low and unemployment keeps rising and how policy choices have influenced this reality. The proposal is to focus on reforms that accelerate growth of the economy, while deepening the inclusiveness of this growth. The writer puts forward several implementable reforms that would enable labour-intensive activities to emerge.

"High levels of unemployment are not just a consequence of low growth: policy choices have produced an economy that needs less and less of the one human resource that this country has in abundance, unskilled labour."

- Ann Bernstein, Centre for Development and Enterprise

"High levels of unemployment are not just a consequence of low growth: policy choices have produced an economy that needs less and less of the one human resource that this country has in abundance, unskilled labour."

- Ann Bernstein, Centre for Development and Enterprise

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