As I woke up this morning I felt compelled to write this as an advice to the young people who just received their Matric results yesterday, 03 Jan 2013. I have borrowed from the biblical phrase “ten commandments” hoping that it will inspire young people to read this, here we go:
1.       Thou art not educated – If you are in the township or a rural area; there might be a number of people who now say to you ufundile, loosely translated to “you are now educated”; this is not true – you have not even started. A study done for the Human Science Research Council conducted by Branson, Leibbrandt, Zuzu (in Cloete, 2009) analysed household data from 2000 to 2007 to establish clear, positive links between further study and access to the labour market (jobs). They found that obtaining a tertiary qualification compared to the group with a matric certificate improved the likelihood to be formally employed up to three times.
2.       Thou shalt study Maths If you have passed Matric without Maths or with Maths Literacy (which also means without Maths in my view) – make it a point that you study Maths. If you are going to University you may add this as an additional subject to whatever you will be studying. Maths will help any young person as they go forward in their life/career.
3.       Thou shalt stay away from those dodgy colleges in the CBD – Some young people think “as long as I’m studying it does not matter where I’m studying” – wrong it actually matters more where you are studying. If you can’t afford a University or a University of Technology, rather consider a Further Education & Training (FET) College.
4.       Thou shalt not look for a job – unless you really have to, please do not look for a job now. There are various reasons why you should not look for a job.
a.       It is very difficult for someone with only Matric to get a job.
b.      Most people who start working for companies when they only have Matric struggle to climb the corporate ladder, if that’s what you want.
c.       When people start working after Matric; they say they will study part time but they never do or if they do they never finish their degrees. Studying by correspondence is very hard.
5.       Thou shalt start a business – Starting a business is good for the economy and for you; Professor Nicholas Biekpe from Africagrowth Research found a few reasons why:
a.       About that 95% of companies in Australia are from the Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) sector;
b.      America has the largest number of SMEs in the world;
c.       After the second world war the growth of both Japan and Germany were SME led;
d.      More tax revenue is generated from SMEs in the developed countries compared to tax from big business;
e.      SMEs create more employment compared to big business;
f.        The above implies that SMEs are, truly, the engine of economic growth!!!!!
g.       In South Africa, SMEs contribute between 52 to 57% to GDP and provide about 61% of employment;
Contrary to popular belief starting you own business is a viable option.
6.       Thou shalt be obsessed with learning – commit yourself to life-long learning. This includes formal and non-formal learning. Never stop learning.
The last four commandments are taken from the book “Dumbing Down our Kids” by educator Charles Sykes. I have changed them to fit in with my “ten commandments theme”:
7.       Thou shalt change thine expectations – Sorry, you won’t make R500, 000 a year right out of high school. And you won’t be a Chief Operating Office or have a company car in the first year. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a designer label.
8.       Thou shalt toughen up – If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. When you mess up, he’s not going to ask you how you FEEL about it.
9.       Thou shalt get over it – You’re offended? So what? No, really. So what? You are not a victim. So stop whining.
10.    Thou shalt remember – television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to work.