THE latest statistics reveal a slight decline of youth living below the poverty line. While this is good news, the status quo remains the same.
The youth are still living in dire poverty and terrible conditions, and the unemployment rate is still growing. Unless the government devises appropriate programmes, the current state of living of our youth will persist. This is a reality for the youth that, for whatever reason, could not complete school and find themselves unskilled and unemployable.
We believe that if the unskilled youth are exposed to education programmes tailored to suit them, the poverty gap would be bridged substantially.
However, access to higher education system is also a challenge, given the high cost of university education which led to the #FeesMustFall Campaign last year, and the lack of capacity at tertiary institutions.
This calls for an alternative, which are occupational qualifications.
These qualifications are accessible to everyone, including those who could not finish school. They are quality assured by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), and include the Electrical Line Mechanic qualification.
The national Decade of Artisans initiative can only be realised if the youth consider occupational qualifications as a viable option for the betterment of their lives, and alleviation of poverty.
AND THOBANI MHLONGO