Commonwealth Youth and Development - Volume 12, Issue 2, 2014
Volume 12, Issue 2, 2014
Combating social exclusion of the youth : challenges and opportunities of programmes and policies in three different contextsAuthor Jacques ZeelenSource: Commonwealth Youth and Development 12, pp 1 –17 (2014)More Less
This paper reports and reflects on studies about the problems encountered in the implementation of education policies in several contexts in developed and developing countries. In these studies special attention is paid to the problems of the youth at risk between education and the labour market. In developing countries policies are in general framed by international policy initiatives such as those formulated in the Education for All Millennium Goals. However, in many cases there is an overproduction of such policies and extreme underperformance in the implementation. Obstacles are, for instance, problems concerning policy standards and their implementation; discontinuities between the national, provincial and district levels; lack of funding and at the same time corruption; lack of contextualisation; and, most prominently, lack of participation at grassroots level. In the case of the youth in sub-Saharan Africa, despite more access to education, poor implementation leads to problems such as high drop-out rates, low quality of education and too little attention paid to skills development. The existing dysfunctionality of the education system and the growing skills gap between what the youth can offer and what the labour market requires (especially in countries such as Uganda with a fast population growth) lead to a growing divide between the learning rich (minority) and the learning poor (majority). People are experiencing an alarming decrease in social cohesion. In many European countries the legitimacy of the welfare state is increasingly coming under pressure due to the recent economic crisis. The willingness to provide the tools for achieving an inclusive society is no longer self-evident. Here as well, the question is which policies respond to the demands of the labour market and at the same time avoid marginalisation of the unemployed, disabled, ethnic minorities and disadvantaged people - in other words, how to achieve, in this period of economic crisis, the goal of continuously creating equal opportunities and equal access to services for all citizens. In the past the educational policy strategies of many governments privileged technocratic efficiency over grassroots participation in decision making, such that the existing power patterns were reinforced. To break with this technocratic hindrance, bot-top-down approaches seem to be needed in policy development to improve the quality of implementation. This means that while honouring the central role the government or departments of education (the top) should play in policy development and implementation, policies must be founded on solid needs analysis (bottom) so that it is possible to address problems on the ground (down). This supports the relevance of participatory approaches, which help by identifying a range of complex economic and social issues at grassroots level, by empowering communities to identify problems, through the development of plans for comprehensive and long-term solutions and, finally, by taking action. Important partners could be universities, policy makers, practitioners, companies and civil society. These types of (public-private) partnerships could be further developed into learning partnerships to facilitate working on bot-top-down strategies and capacity building of practitioners in the educational field. To have policies that are grounded in relevant issues and to develop strategies that are intended to address those issues is one step in the right direction towards effective implementation.
Author Tapologo MaundeniSource: Commonwealth Youth and Development 12, pp 18 –34 (2014)More Less
This paper explores the theme of health-related risks among the youth in Botswana. It examines a number of intervention strategies geared toward addressing the problems associated with these risks. The paper notes that Botswana has made considerable progress in the provision of social services, including services that aim to diminish health-related risks among the youth. The dimensions of these interventions have ranged from government policy initiatives to school-based programmes, deliberate development of youth action plans, the involvement of tertiary institutions, the activities of non-governmental organisations and the intervention of faith-based organisations. Despite these interventions, some challenges still exist. For some of the organisations, these challenges include a lack of capacity and shortage of funds. In tertiary institutions, the transitory nature of students' residence, the under-utilisation of services and human resource constraints are problematic. Adolescents remain exposed to sexually-transmitted diseases, and too little attention is given to youth with disabilities. The paper suggests that there is a need to employ social workers in schools, create greater awareness in tertiary institutions, engage in further research and documentation on the subject, and ensure an aggressive pursuit of the training of youth officers.
Author Petro BothaSource: Commonwealth Youth and Development 12, pp 35 –48 (2014)More Less
There is a large number of youth-headed households in South Africa. This is linked to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country. Various studies have been undertaken on child-headed households, but there is a lack of research on the personal experiences of youth heading households. The assumption has been made that youth are older and able to cope with their situation. Youth heading households have not been defined as a separate group, but have been included in Orphans, Vulnerable Children and Youth (OVCY). The aim of this study is to gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges and coping resources of youth heading households. A qualitative approach and a descriptive and contextual design were used. It is important that governments and NGOs clearly define a youth-headed household and include youth heading households in research evaluating current services to OVCY, and that they plan services focusing specifically on the needs of this group.
The effectiveness of external whole-school evaluation on underperforming secondary schools in the Mpumalanga provinceSource: Commonwealth Youth and Development 12, pp 49 –68 (2014)More Less
The study was conducted in the Mpumalanga province and focused on a sample of 18 externally evaluated underperforming secondary schools across all four districts of the province. The schools obtained an average pass rate of less than 30% in the 2011 Grade 12 examinations. The main objectives of the study were to analyse the purpose of whole-school evaluation (WSE) from a quality assurance perspective; to investigate the significance of a key component of WSE, namely assessing the quality of teaching, learning and educator development; to analyse the Grade 12 results of externally evaluated underperforming secondary schools pre- and post-evaluation; to analyse monitoring and evaluation reports for changes in teaching, learning and teacher development, as well as to identify factors impeding teaching, learning and teacher development in underperforming secondary schools. WSE is a system of evaluating the performance of schools as a whole. Corporate contribution to improve performance is measured, rather than simply the performance of individual staff members. Furthermore, WSE is one intervention to move schools that are in a critical situation along the path to becoming effective schools. Guidelines for quality assurance in education, especially at school level, are underpinned by the nine areas for evaluation (AFEs), namely basic functionality of the school (AFE1), leadership, management and communication (AFE2), governance and relationships (AFE3), quality of teaching and learning, and educator development (AFE4), curriculum provisioning and resources (AFE5), learner achievement (AFE6), school safety, security and discipline (AFE7), school infrastructure (AFE8), and parents and the community (AFE9). The mixed methods approach was used. This approach made it easy to reconcile findings through triangulation and complementing qualitative and quantitative data (both primary and secondary). The study relied on secondary data (external WSE reports and Grade 12 results), as well as primary data obtained from questionnaires administered to school management teams (SMTs) of the sampled underperforming secondary schools. The study revealed the great level of acceptance of the external WSE process by SMTs in Mpumalanga province's underperforming secondary schools, as a means of quality assurance in order to achieve improvement. Furthermore, it revealed the extent to which improvement and development in the underperforming schools occurred as a result of the external WSE process. It was found that the results of seventeen of the 18 schools (94.4%) had improved. Furthermore, the study confirmed that what was revealed in the external WSE as areas for development came as a revelation to SMTs. As a result, the manner in which teaching, learning and teacher development (AFE4) as a key component of WSE is viewed by teachers and SMTs, has been positively influenced.
Empowering Muslim children through Qur'an stories : the case of 'The Camel and the Evil People' (2010) and Stories of the Sahabah for Youth (2011)Author Ghazala AessopSource: Commonwealth Youth and Development 12, pp 69 –76 (2014)More Less
The aim of this article is to explore how literary stories are used to teach Muslim children to respect the commands of Allah and the values that undergird Islamic religion. Using biblical allusions drawn from the Koran/Qur'an, stories for young readers such as The Camel and the Evil People (2010) and Stories of the Sahabah for Youth (2011) entertain as well as teach young Muslim readers to appreciate the divine messages of Allah. The lessons that children get from Qur'an stories help them to build character and stick to Muslim principles. They shape personality, test moral uprightness and provide children with a guide to follow the will of Allah. A critical analysis of the stories in the above-mentioned literary texts reveals the multiple layers of themes and perspectives that the texts explore to demonstrate the greatness of Allah and the submissiveness that he expects from his subjects. Through reading Qur'an stories, it is hoped that Muslim children would be empowered to defend Islamic principles, and to distinguish what is right from what is wrong.
Perceptions of South African youth of leadership development programmes : a case in the Lepelle-Nkumpi municipal areaAuthor Matshidiso KanjereSource: Commonwealth Youth and Development 12, pp 77 –89 (2014)More Less
The South African youth faces multiple challenges that range from illiteracy, drug and alcohol abuse, crime and HIV/AIDS, to unemployment. These challenges and many other ills in society have led to interventions by government, and private and other civil societies. The government has established and initiated a number of programmes that aim at building capacity and helping the youth to cope with these multiple challenges. Some of the programmes are aimed at building leadership capacity among the impoverished youth in rural communities. A lot of money is being invested in these programmes, which are meant to develop young South Africans. However, there are some young people who do not participate in these programmes. They are also not in the formal education system, self-employed or employed elsewhere. And they are despondent. The government, private sector and non-governmental organisations are trying hard to bring these youths and others into the developmental arena, so that they can be active participants in the economy of the country in the near future. However, little research has been conducted to assess the broad impact of the various programmes in the country. The contribution that these programmes are making toward improving the livelihoods of young people has to be determined on a larger scale. Nevertheless, this article reports on an investigation that was conducted on a smaller scale, at the Lepelle-Nkumpi Local Municipality. The aim of the research was to explore the perceptions young South Africans have of the leadership development programmes that they have participated in. A mixed research approach was used to collect data and the key findings indicated that knowledge accumulated through participation in the programmes does not always translate into practical applications. However, the programmes were deemed to be valuable in instilling a positive life-view. The study recommends that support systems be established in the rural areas to assist young people with life challenges.
Investing in young academic staff at an HEI : a participant's experiences of the Unisa research development programmeAuthor Thulile Pearl ShanduSource: Commonwealth Youth and Development 12, pp 90 –98 (2014)More Less
This article is based on the views and experiences of one participant who was part of the Young Academics Programme (YAP) for staff members at the University of South Africa (Unisa) in 2011. In the article, the author presents the scope of the programme, including its contents; her experiences of the programme; as well as the contributions of the programme to personal and career development. While previous research on YAP is acknowledged, the thrust of the article is on one participant's experiences and how the programme contributed specifically to the particular participant's development, especially in research. The article, therefore, highlights and validates some of the previous findings on YAP, while presenting new insights based on the 2011 YAP group. At the end of the article, recommendations are presented with reference to the programme, Unisa as an institution as well as other higher education institutions (HEIs).
An analysis of literary depictions of youth employment and socio-economic development against the backdrop of Land Redistribution in post-2000 ZimbabweSource: Commonwealth Youth and Development 12, pp 99 –112 (2014)More Less
The article discusses literary depictions of youth employment opportunities and sustainable socioeconomic development in post-2000 Zimbabwe in Lawrence Hoba and Petina Gappah's short story collections, The Trek and Other Stories (2009) and An Elegy for Easterly (2009), respectively. The article views youth employment from an unorthodox/unscientific perspective, considering the informal self-employment strategies that Zimbabwean society has adopted, as depicted in the selected short story collections. It defies the singular approach in the manner that employment is generally viewed and quantified, especially in the context of the vilified Zimbabwean land redistribution processes that the short story collections dwell on. To this end, the article challenges readers and critics of the Zimbabwean youth employment situation and Zimbabwean sustainable socio-economic development from the perspective of the tight rope that the country walks on as Zimbabweans adopt strategies and mechanisms to self-regenerate and transform the livelihoods of the greater majority. The article concludes that real and sustainable youth employment and greater socio-economic development can only be attained through genuine ownership of land as the major economic resource, and through internal accountability for the more equitable distribution and benefitting the same. Self-serving modes that see development as an end in itself, without taking into account the quality of human lives, are self-defeating.