Gender and Behaviour

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Assessing the state of youth unemployment in South Africa: A discussion and examination of the structural problems responsible for unsustainable youth development in South Africa

Phemelo Olifile Marumo, Motheo Emmanuel Sebolaaneng


This paper provides a discussion and a critical examination of the structural problems that cause youth unemployment, which leads to unsustainable youth development in South Africa. The paper preludes by dissecting in a funnel channel, the nature and state of youth unemployment from a global point of view, then African perspective, prior to providing the historic and current structure of youth unemployment in South Africa. It argues that youth unemployment is mainly caused by the oversupply of graduates who hold skills that are rarely demanded in the labour market, such as graduates with skills in arts and humanities. Thus, there is a need for universities and colleges to intensify their relations on career guide, so that matriculants can opt for careers that are more relevant and required in the industries and government. However, the paper holds that the South African educational system is still unequal and fragmented when comparing the value of education in the rural/townships with that one in the urban and cities, and such a situation still perpetuates inequality that is no longer based on race, but economic status.

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