South Africa’s labour market remains a priority concern for policymakers and academics. With President Ramaphosa targeting an additional 2 million jobs in his State of the Nation Address, proposals to achieve these ambitious goals require continuous debate and research. RESEP maintains its focus on being a leading institute for socio-economic policy research, with empirical labour market analysis one of its core focus areas. On 20 and 21 June 2019, the labour group within RESEP hosted a small, successful workshop on The Labour Market in a Macro-economic Context at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS). This created a forum to discuss the labour market from multiple perspectives; academics and policymakers interacted and traded views; development economists, macroeconomists and political economists contributed from their various points of expertise. Tito Mboweni, minister of finance and honorary professor of Economics at Stellenbosch University, led a closed discussion on the current state of the economy. Kuben Naidoo, deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank and also honorary professor of Economics at Stellenbosch University, contributed to the debate on wage formation and monetary policy. Andrew Donaldson, formerly from National Treasury, provided varying insights on both macro- and microeconomic aspects that play into the current state of the labour market, while Hugo Pienaar from the Bureau for Economic Research provided a prognosis for economic growth and the potential for the labour market to expand. Steven Friedman, a political scientist at the University of Johannesburg, provided a critical overview of the status and role of trade unions in the labour market. RESEP researchers contributed insightful new empirical findings on economic growth, education, active labour market policies, the informal sector, job search, job polarisation and the fourth industrial revolution, affirmative action, minimum wages, firm structure and top income inequality. The workshop raised many questions and provided an impetus for new ways of thinking about solutions to South Africa’s labour market challenges.
How basic education has improved in the Western Cape in the past six years
Repetition is a serious problem in South Africa, and the Western Cape is no exception. In any given year between 2007 and 2019, repetition has ranged between 72,000 and 100,000, with notable enrolment bulges in grades 1, 4, 9 and 10. An important consequence of repetition—when not cancelled by dropout—is an increase in the proportion of children who are older than what would be considered appropriate for a particular grade. For example, at least a third of grade 12 learners in 2019 were overage.
Resilience key to improving your circumstances
When meeting Dumisani Hompashe and listening to his story, the word “resilience” automatically comes to mind. Because resilience is the silver thread running through his entire life, from his childhood to his part-time PhD studies in Economics at Stellenbosch University (SU).
Grit matters when a child is learning to read, even in poor South African schools
School quality is important in determining children’s success at school. But individual characteristics of the child also play a role. In particular, researchers and teachers are starting to pay more attention to the part that social and emotional skills play in academic success. These are also known as character skills or soft skills.