07 Apr 2016, by Admin
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The only way out of the cycle of unemployment, poverty and inequality which is undermining South Africa’s future is to achieve higher and more labour- intensive levels of economic growth. Among other things, this requires dramatically expanding the pool of skills available to the South African economy. There are two main ways of achieving this. The first, and most important, is to equip South Africans with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills, and the ability to use them productively. This will enable them to reach their full human potential, and contribute to national development. The second is to compensate for South Africa’s existing skills shortage by recruiting skilled people from abroad.

Some countries – notably Australia – are good at harmonising these two approaches. South Africa has been bad at both. Indeed, the strategies for developing our own skills base and encouraging skilled immigration are often perceived as contradictory, falsely portraying skilled immigration as damaging to the development of South African skills. This has contributed to an enormous skills deficit which the government has recognised for more than a decade, but failed to reduce.

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