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Cyril Ramaphosa decries high rate of school dropouts

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: Simphiwe NKwali

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed concern at the high rate of pupils who drop out of school - saying the phenomenon is exacerbating the unemployment crisis.

Speaking at an ANC Youth League event in Durban, Ramaphosa told the audience that 450,000 of the one million young children that enter schools each year drop out by grade nine or 10.

“Many of the people who do not have jobs in the main - although many more people don’t have jobs in our country today - many of those who are almost unemployable, easily are those who did not pass matric,” Ramaphosa said.

The class of 2018 recorded a 78,2% pass which is an improvement on previous years. However, experts and opposition parties say the pass rate is much lower if one includes the pupils who have dropped out over the years.

Ramaphosa also told youth league members to prepare to take over the leadership of the country.

“We long for the day we have a really young president… a president we will say is a really youthful president.,” Ramaphosa told the crowd to cheers.

“You are going to be future ministers of this country. You are the future presidents of this country,” he said.

ANC Youth League provincial chairperson Kwazi Mshengu reiterated the call for 40% of ANC public representatives to be young people.

Later, ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala said young people should be equipped for the leadership positions they wanted.

The president told the crowd that the youth should lead the ANC's election campaign from the front.

“The ANCYL must be at the leading edge of the election campaign… we rely on the youth  league to mobilise our people,” he said.

Hinting at the tone of the ANC manifesto, Ramaphosa said young people should also participate in the economy.

“We are ensuring that our economy is restructured by creating opportunities for young people,” Ramaphosa said.

He made a clarion call to the youth of the party to be at the forefront of advocating for education and against school dropouts.

“The task of the ANCYL is to be at the forefront of education…Making sure young people in our country get educated,” he said.

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