The Presidential Youth Employment Initiative implemented through the basic education sector comes to an end today.
In a statement on Friday, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) said the initial duration of the programme, which started in December 2020, was four months but this was extended by one month until the end of April 2021.
“The Basic Education sector created employment opportunities for more than 320 000 education and general education assistants who were placed in schools around the country.
“The contracts will not be extended but instead, discussions are underway to review and repackage the initiative with a proposed second phase to commence later this year. An announcement will be made once all the details have been finalised,” said the DBE.
The department is also aware that some provinces, like Limpopo, have published recruitment adverts for education assistants.
It said that provincial initiatives such as the ones in Gauteng and Limpopo are not linked to the national Presidential Youth Employment Initiative commonly known as the Basic Education Employment Initiative.
“In the first phase, more than 27 600 School Governing Body (SGB) funded posts in public and post at government subsidised independent schools, were saved because of the funding provided to assist these schools,” the department said.
“These posts came under threat due to schools experiencing financial distress, as a result of parents not being able to pay school fees, because of the economic devastation of COVID-19.
“The programme used the direct public investment to create employment opportunities and to provide support to workers negatively impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the department said.
The initiative was funded to the tune of R7 billion, of which R6 998 billion was distributed to provinces as an equitable share.
A large portion of this, which is R 4.47 billion was targeted towards providing employment opportunities for the youth.
Of the R4.47 billion, one percent was allocated towards training and another one percent towards the Unemployment Insurance Fund for each youth employed in the programme.
More than 868 000 applications were received from young people when the initiative was started. Of the more than 320 000 successful candidates 67% were education assistants and 33% were general school assistants.