Sounds contradictory, right?

I’ve dedicated my blog to the importance of university and getting involved, and now I question it. The reason I did this is because I feel that this has become an increasingly important topic for young people in South Africa today. After finishing my 12 years of schooling, many of my peers and friends didn’t feel the necessity to study at a tertiary level. They found it more comforting to just land a job for themselves and start earning money.

You may think to yourself, “that’s not wise for their future” or “why would they miss a great opportunity to better themselves? ” However, if we look deeper into the society of South African youth, we see there are many underlying issues that explain why they make that decision. According to Mail and Guardian 18% of matriculants go onto university and half of those students eventually drop out. The reasons stem from a lack of support, lack of knowledge from public schools to the economic situation and household dynamics.

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Source: http://afrobarometer.org/search/node/south%20african%20youth

Most of the youth that make this decision, struggle with their socio-economic conditions. The lack of support either comes from schooling or the family. “Education performance in South Africa remains strongly aligned with socio-economic status. The education system continues to reward those who have had a solid pre-school and foundation phase teaching, and fails those who due to poverty had an inadequate primary schooling,” as stated by Equal Education. Children at public schools don’t get sufficient knowledge, help and preparation for university. Whereas, children from private institutions have plenty resources, facilities and training to aid them in being prepared for university. The resources include, computer labs, library access, internet and many more. Public schools aren’t given enough funding to buy and maintain these facilities and therefore aren’t able to assist the children. However, private schools do. The lack of support can also stem from family. Poor academic support and family pressure contributed to high dropout rates. No support from family or pressure to do a degree that’s not really what you want, results in either a drop out or not attempting to apply.

Furthermore, according to City Press, millions of young people are living below the breadline. Also 70% of South Africa’s 20 million young people are more likely to be victims and perpetrators of assault, robbery and property theft than adults. These conditions provoke young people to start working after school to assist the household financially. However, because of the high unemployment rate, youth resort to robbery, theft and assault.

What’s important to understand is, not everyone is cut out to be an academic. The schooling system gives a lot of attention to academics. However, in the world out there we have artists, performers, mangers, entrepreneurs and many more jobs that don’t necessarily require a tertiary education. Everyone is different and each have their own purpose in life. Once you do find your niche, remember to keep on improving your skills on whatever you do. Do short courses, attend required training and whatever will help you improve your passion or job.

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