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Matric Report 2013

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Almost one in three young South Africans are not employed and are not busy with training. Today, shortly before the release of the matric results of 2013, the trade union Solidarity advises young people to get further training or to find employment. According to a report by the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) on job prospects for matriculants, the South African labour market is still unkind to young people, even if they do have a matric certificate. 

Paul Joubert, senior economic researcher at the SRI who compiled the report, said young people should not labour under the misconception that they will find a well-paying job immediately after completing school. ‘Of course, this is not meant to discourage young people from job hunting for whatever jobs are available, as any work experience increases a person’s chances of finding a better job in future. However, the best option remains to further one’s education.’ 

Joubert said the reason why so many people with matric certificates are struggling to find employment, or earn very little when they do find employment, is simply because they did not take the right subjects or did not achieve good results in these subjects. ‘Annually, a very small number of matriculants achieve good results in key subjects. In 2012, only 21 149 matriculants achieved 60% or higher in Accounting, only 30 355 achieved 60% or higher in Mathematics and only 25 640 achieved 60% or higher in Physical Science. 

According to the report, only 50% of people with a matric certificate as highest qualification are employed. ‘It is only a slight improvement on the 30% of people with no training who are employed. In contrast, about 80% of people with some or other tertiary qualification are employed. Therefore, a matric certificate does improve a person’s chances of having a job, but a tertiary qualification improves a person’s chances of having a job significantly.’ 

Joubert says tertiary education also increases someone’s earning potential since a person with more knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge can add more value. ‘Human society is built on knowledge – it is the source of progress and improved living conditions. People with the knowledge to make a further contribution to this improvement will always be compensated. The high unemployment rate in South Africa is not surprising in the context of a modern knowledge economy, for not even 13% of the adult population have tertiary qualifications.’ 

According to the report, in 2011 nearly 30% of employed people with matric as their highest qualification earned more than R6 400 per month, and more than 13% earned more than R12 800 per month. Among employed people with a matric certificate as well as a further certificate or diploma, 50% had an income of more than R6 400 per month. More than 30% earned an income higher than R12 800 per month and 9,1% earned more than R25 600 per month. The next group, people with university degrees, higher diplomas or equivalent qualifications, shows the biggest jump in income levels. Almost 80% of this group earned more than R6 400 per month in 2011. More than half receive an income of more than R12 800 per month, and nearly a quarter earned more than R25 600 per month. A significant 7% earned more than R51 200 per month.’ 

In 2006, Solidarity founded Sol-Tech, a private technical college, as an alternative to the dysfunctional state colleges. Sol-Tech’s medium of instruction is Afrikaans, and the college annually trains approximately 1 000 apprentices as electricians, millwrights, fitters and turners and diesel mechanics. The college’s pass rate exceeds 95%. Solidarity has also established Akademia, a new higher education institution that broadcasts courses in other fields of study from a central campus via a telematic system to other parts of the country. The medium of instruction is also Afrikaans.  Solidarity’s ultimate goal is to build a new campus in Pretoria where an extended Sol-Tech as well as Akademia will be housed.

Click here to view the Solidarity Research Institute’s Matric Report 2013.

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