Across the country a number of young adults waited eagerly for their matric final results, which were released on the 4th of January for the IEB schools and the 6th of January for the Government-regulated curriculum system. Many young people are now considering their next steps, their work and study options. Sadly, only a handful of youth with disabilities will be doing the same thing, according to Progression’s CEO, Beth Cook.
This is because only an estimated 5% of youth with disabilities matriculate every year, according to research conducted by Progression.
“It is important to understand that the employable number within the particular target group of persons with disabilities in general constitutes only 10% of the population of South Africa and that the large majority of this very small pool of people have no work experience, limited education, no matric qualification and a lack of self-confidence and social skills,”explains Beth.
Beth goes on to say, “With the demand for persons with disabilities, as a result of the B-BBEE codes, rising dramatically, most of corporate South Africa are sourcing from the same limited pool. With these statistics in mind, it is apparent that there are insufficient numbers of persons with disabilities with a Grade 12 to meet the demand. Considering only those learners who have achieved a matric often results in the “recycling” of these learners. Not only does this prevent the learner from finding a permanent position, but it also excludes other learners with disabilities, who do not have a matric, but will still add value to an organisation.”
A further consideration is the quality of the South African Grade 12 qualification, especially in disadvantaged areas. In many cases unqualified educators are responsible for the education of these disadvantaged groups. It is apparent in the number of learners who drop out of the system before entering Grade 11 and Grade 12, that there are serious flaws in the current education system. According to Equal Education, South Africa’s official 2017 matric pass rate of 75.1%, is not a very realistic number when considering other important circumstances.
For one, the pass rate ignores the large percentage of students who drop out before they write their matric exams. In fact, according to the Department of Basic Education’s latest Focus on Education report, Grade 10 is the most repeated grade in South Africa. In 2015, 20.4% of learners who were registered for Grade 10 were repeating it.
Beth states, “Progression strongly recommends that Employers look to facilitating the development of learners from economically disadvantaged groups through learnership initiatives that do not require Grade 12 as entry. At the end of the day, it is more likely that a learner from an economically disadvantaged background who has achieved an NQF Level 2, 3 or 4 qualification, will be better equipped to enter the labour market than a below-average Grade 12 student. It is also more likely to achieve the demographic targets as stipulated by the B-BBEE Codes by sourcing from the pool of Grade 10 and 11 candidates.”
Progression is perfectly positioned to assist corporate South Africa to identify individuals at the pre-tertiary education stage and map out career paths that align with organisational needs. “By identifying and coaching these individuals early in their development, we can address skills deficits in the country and grow the pool of in-demand graduates,” says Beth.
“Importantly, corporates can align themselves with B-BBEE policy by employing competent persons with disabilities. We advise them to consider people with disabilities, who do not have a matric but have skills and enthusiasm, to be chosen for certain learnerships. Doing so also talks directly to the spirit of B-BBEE and Skills Development in South Africa,”concludes Beth.