Basic Education Employment Initiative, what you need to know

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

South Africa’s unemployment affects millions of citizens, with the current unemployment rate standing at 32.6%. This sees 7.2 million unemployed people, according to Statistics South Africa.

The national statistical service points out, the official unemployment rate among youth (15-34 years) was 46,3% in Quarter 1 of 2021.

Click here to read the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) – Q1:2021

To try and combat this, the Department of Basic Education announced that the recruitment for Phase II of the Basic Education Employment Initiative is open as of 27 September 2021. The closing date being earmarked for 3 October 2021.

The department seeks to provide 287 000 unemployed young people (+/-192 000 Education Assistants and +/- 95 000 General School Assistants) employment and training opportunities in the education sector. 

This forms part of the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI)-Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI)—all part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES). This seeks to mitigate the devastating economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Youth between the ages of 18 and 35, currently neither in education/ training nor receiving a government grant. As well as young people with disabilities and women are eligible and encouraged to apply for this enriching experience. 

Selected candidates will have an opportunity to receive training on various skills, equipping them for future employment opportunities.

How does the Basic Education Employment Initiative work?

All successful candidates will be placed in schools for five months, from 1 November 2021 to 31 March 2022. for the following available opportunities:

  • Education Assistant – Curriculum
  • Education Assistant – ICT/e-Cadres
  • Education Assistant – Reading Champions
  • General School Assistant – Child & Youth Care Worker
  • General School Assistant – Handyman (no matric required)
  • General School Assistant – Sports and Enrichment Agent (no matric required)
What is required to qualify for the Basic Education Employment Initiative?

To qualify as an Education Assistant, you must have passed matric English. While an NQF Level 4, 6 and 7 qualification certificate will be an added advantage. 

However, for placement as a General School Assistant, a matric certificate is not required for Infrastructure support and Sports and Enrichment Agents. However, Trade certificates will be an added advantage.

To work in the education environment, you must have a good ability to work with people and within groups, have good communication skills, be a good listener, and be interested in academics.

How can you apply for the Basic Education Employment Initiative?

To apply, young people, are urged to visit to create a profile and submit their application. 

No walk-ins will be allowed in schools due to Covid19 restrictions. Applicants must submit their applications online.

Should you receive notice that you have been selected for shortlisting, you will be required to prepare the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Testimonials (former school, local chief, church leader, etc)
  • Police clearance certificates
  • Affidavit/Declaration by applicant stating he/she has no criminal record while awaiting the Police clearance
  • Certified qualifications such as Matric, (where applicable: NQF Level 4 qualification certificate, for Education Assistant applicants with NQF level 6 and 7 an added advantage)
  • Certified copy of identity document/ passport

It is important to note that there will be a strong emphasis on training participants to add to their skills set and setting them up for improved employment prospects. Young people recruited for Phase II of the Basic Education Employment Initiative can expect to receive training in the following areas:

e-Cadres/ ICT Support

To work in IT, one has to be computer savvy and enjoy working on IT systems. The e- Cadres will add value in the classroom by assisting teachers and learners with troubleshooting ICT equipment and uploading educational content on learners’ and teachers’ devices.

The need for this transformation is critical and timely, given that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to move towards a digital future, where lessons can be provided virtually. When learners and teachers receive the proper support for digital learning, the response is often noticeable. e-Cadres will be deployed in all public schools.

Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCW)

Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCW), will provide learners with much needed psychosocial support within a COVID-19 environment. Psychosocial support is critical, even on an elementary level, as it will assist in reducing the risk of learners dropping out of the system. It can also contribute to an improvement in learner behaviour and academic performance.

Reading Champions

Reading Champions will contribute towards improving the culture of reading and literacy rates among learners. Reading Champions deployed in the Foundation Phase will also contribute to improving early grade reading. In Phase I, Reading Champions assisted in reviving school libraries, initiating reading clubs and creating reading corners. This is in line with the sector priority on improving early grade reading.

Infrastructure maintenance

As in Phase I, there will be continued focus to support schools in infrastructure maintenance. This will be done by allocating handypersons to schools where they are most needed. These cadres of youth will be provided with the necessary training to ensure good quality work.

Learner Support Agents will be appointed among the General School Assistants to support implementing sports, arts and culture activities in public schools.

Sports and Enrichment Agents

Phase II of the Initiative includes a new category for recruitment, which will see young people keen on sports enrichment programmes. To participate as a Sports Enrichment Agent, one must be fit, active, and keen to assist schools with facilitating cultural and sports activities.

Overview of Phase I of BEEI

Phase I of the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES) was successfully implemented from 1 December 2020 until 31 April 2021 in the primary education sector as the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI). 

Approximately 300 000 young people participated in Phase I of the BEEI.

Phase II will focus on reducing youth unemployment, as the data collected throughout the initiative has shown that most of the young people are unemployed graduates who lack the relevant experience to propel them to employment.

The BEEI initiative will go a long way in assisting the department in mitigating the unfortunate fallout from the COVID-19 academic disruptions. Due to psychosocial challenges, the initiative also aims to provide a protective net for learners at risk of dropping out of school.

Through Phase I of the initiative, the data collected after placement of the youth indicated that a noticeable number of unemployed youth placed on PYEI-BEEI had qualifications in various fields. 

Phase II will also provide experiential learning whilst ensuring that those who studied Education or are interested in Education as a field of study will be directed to paths that will lead them back to the sector.

Follow updates on BEEI Phase II: SA Youth – – for applications

Twitter: @DBE_BEEI is external)

Facebook: Basic Education Employment Initiative

As the Department of Education offers this initiative to a select number of South Africans, what are your thoughts? 

Share your views in the comment section below.

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