With Phase III of the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI) fast approaching its end-date of 31 August 2022, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has taken a decision to close new appointments of assistants on 15 June 2022.
Phase III of the PYEI, implemented in the basic education sector, has entered its second half of implementation, and the DBE said that there are many good stories told by the youth, teachers, and principals about the positive impact that this initiative continues to make in schools.
“This means that schools cannot make appointments or replacements should a vacancy arise after 15 June 2022. This is done to ensure that there is stability in schools, considering that the winter break is scheduled from tomorrow, 24 June to 19 July 2022,” the DBE said in a statement on Thursday.
The department explained that when schools re-open for Term Three of the 2022 academic year, there will be less than seven weeks of Phase III remaining.
“During this time, preparations for the 2022 preliminary matric examinations in high schools would be underway.
“Furthermore, there would not be sufficient time to provide the youth with the necessary orientation and training, which will aid the new appointees to gain meaningful work experience,” the department said.
The audit findings of Phase I of the PYEI-BEEI indicated that there was no value for money where schools paid the youth full stipends for the days that they were absent.
To address this finding and to align with good governance and financial management principles, as outlined in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), the Department of Basic Education issued a guideline on calculation of pro-rata payments.
The aim of the guidelines was to assist schools in creating common standards on deductions.
The Department of Basic Education has set the stipend for Phase III equivalent to the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
“According to the Department of Employment and Labour, with effect from 1 March 2022, the NMW is R23.19 for each ordinary hour worked. Effectively, the stipend for youth appointed in Phase III of the PYEI is R4 081.44, inclusive of the employee contribution towards the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
“Thus, the monthly stipend payable to the assistants is R4 040.63, after the deduction of 1% employee contribution towards UIF, which is R40,81,” the department said.
The following provisions are made in the contract of employment for Phase III:
• An employer shall not deduct money from the EA/GSA’s payment without the EA/GSA’s consent unless the deduction is required in terms of the law.
• An employer must deduct and pay to the Department of Employment and Labour, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) that the EA/GSA is required to pay.
• An employer may deduct any money that was overpaid to the EA/GSA erroneously.
• An employer may not require or allow the EA/GSA to pay the employer or any person for having been employed.
• An employer may deduct from the stipend of the EA/GSA the amount equal to the number of days that the Assistant took leave that is outside the allocated leave days.
The department said that the youth are entitled to one-day vacation leave for every full month that the EA/GSA has worked in terms of the contract.
“Where an individual has taken leave more than the days they are entitled to, there will be a pro-rata deduction for the month in which the excess leave days were taken.
“The schools are not allowed to make any arbitrary deductions, which are not in line with the contract of employment signed between the youths and the school,” the DBE said.
Training and upskilling of youth
The PYEI implemented in the basic education sector seeks to provide youth with learning and earning opportunities.
It is geared towards supporting livelihoods and serves as a vehicle to address high levels of youth unemployment in South Africa.
One of the key objectives of the PYEI in the sector is to provide the beneficiaries with skills and competencies that will enhance their prospects for future employment.
“To this end, the Department of Basic Education has leveraged on some of the training offerings by its partners to skill the youth appointed in schools.
“The training partners include Digify Africa – offering online safety training; the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA) – offering digital literacy training; 2Enable – offering an on-line e-Learning training course, and Pinnock Consulting – hosting the National School Safety Framework (NSSF) training,” the department said.
There are additional training and learning materials hosted by eCubed on the TeacherConnectlearn portal, which is a zero-rated website. This includes curriculum training for curriculum assistants, compulsory generic orientation, and the Reading Champions Training.
All the participants are required to complete the various available training to enhance their skills and to empower themselves.
Those who require additional information on how to access the training are urged to send an email inquiry should to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The DBE wants to ensure that all the youth appointed in school under the banner of the PYEI gain meaningful experience and access to useful learning opportunities.”
Source: South African Government News Agency