The National Youth Policy is a guiding policy instrument to respond to the needs and aspirations of the youth and to address the critical youth development challenges that they face.
The Deputy Minister said the National Youth Policy must be at the forefront of delivering a better future for young people.
“A National Youth Policy is not worth the paper it is written on if it does not involve young people. Young men and women have a critical role to play in their own development. Their views matter and their voices must be heard.
“In developing South Africa’s National Youth Policy (NYP) 2020, young people told us forcefully that there is nothing for them without them. They are ready to be active partners in youth development. They are not looking for special favours from government. But instead, they want government to create an enabling environment which creates opportunity for them.”
South Africa’s NYP 2020 has prioritised five key areas, which include enabling economic participation and transformation facilitating education, skills development and second chances health care, combating substance abuse facilitating nation building and social cohesion effective and responsive youth development institutions.
Each priority area has a set of policy and programme interventions. The Deputy Minister said a National Monitoring and Evaluation Framework has been developed.
“Education is one of the critical areas of the National Youth Policy. Education must remain a public good if we are serious about sustainable development. This requires targeted public investment in education for widening access and pursuing quality education outcomes.
“In redressing apartheid legacy education policies, South Africa’s focus is about broadening public access and improving education quality outcomes. We spend about 20.5% of our national budget on basic and higher education. This equates R320.5 billion annually. Our access to post school education and training has steadily increased.”
Young people in South Africa, largely through student movements embarked on a major nation-wide protest to demand quality, free public higher education. Similar protests took place in other parts of the world too.
The Deputy Minister said this signifies the premium that young people place on education and their recognition of how education can lift them out of poverty and improve their prospects for success.
“Education must be reclaimed as a public good. Free basic education for the poor, a national school nutrition programme and a national bursary programme for teachers are some of the measures that South Africa has instituted to increase quality education outcomes.
“Over the last five years South Africa has considerably increased its investment in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. This has resulted in a doubling of TVET intake of new students. Our National Students Financial Aid Scheme has funded over 300 000 students for the 2017 academic year,” he said.
Although considerable government investment has been made in basic and higher education, the Deputy Minister said government still seeks better education outcomes.