President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced an Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Strategy. As part of this, the Basic Education Sector will be implementing an Education Employment Initiative (EEI), through which a total of 300,000 youth will be given employment opportunities at various public schools across the country.
Unemployed youth between the ages of 18 to 24, with an NQF Level 4 qualification will be employed as Education Assistants (EAs) to assist teachers in classrooms. Unemployed youth up to 35 years old will be employed as Other Assistants (OAs) such as janitors, cleaners and gardeners. For OAs, an NQF Level 4 will not be a requirement. The stipend paid to EAs and OAs will amount to R3,500 per month with a 1% contribution to UIF. An additional requirement is that these young applicants should reside within a 5km radius of the school.
National Treasury has granted a fiscal stimulus of R500 billion towards the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Strategy, with a R7 billion national allocation for the EEI. The DBE is allocated R1,2 million to monitor and oversee the Initiative, whilst R6,998 billion will be allocated to the nine provinces to implement the Initiative according to each school’s contextual needs. Up to 1% of the provincial allocation may be used for training.
Deputy Director-General for the Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development Branch overseeing the project at national level, Mr Paddy Padayachee, said that, “EAs will be assisting teachers in the classroom, including with classroom management as part of a skills transfer initiative to acquire communication; team work; problem solving; resilience; professionalism; and ITC skills for future employment. The process is already underway in the provinces with the conditions of service; employment contracts; job descriptions and requirements; and advertisements being drawn up. It is envisaged that the process will be finalised towards the end of October 2020”.
The South African economy has been hard hit by the impact of COVID-19 due to job losses, the impact of the pandemic on curriculum time and coverage, as well as the holistic welfare of teachers, parents and learners.