The Monetary Policy Committee Schools Challenge 2020 started the first round for in Mpumalanga on the 8th of February at Emnotweni. The national competition is a South Africa Reserve Bank (SARB) initiative endorsed by the Department of Basic Education and aims to stimulate interest in economics among high school learners, put theory into practice and to learn how the SARB makes interest rate decisions. Schools from across the country have been competing in this event since 2018. “Several young economists now working at the Reserve Bank had come through the challenge, added Nwabisa Ndzamo Reserve Bank Spokesperson. Each school enters four pupils, who have to write a monetary policy statement. Thereafter, each province is gradually added to the competition. Mpumalanga started participating in the event from 2016, working alongside Irene Mabena, the Department of Basic Education Provincial Coordinator. This year, around 120 learners from across the province took part in the event. The challenge consists of a workshop, where the pupils were taught how to structure the statement, and given data to use in a simulation. Asive Dwayi, 17, from Despatch Senior Secondary, said she was learning that monetary policy was of huge importance because it affected things like inflation and unemployment. Reserve Bank Spokesperson Nwabisa Ndzamo said the broad objectives of the challenge were to improve young people’s grasp of economics, to get them to consider a career in the field, and to help them understand how the Bank fitted into the economy and the wellbeing of South Africans. “To achieve that, the goal is to get the participants into the shoes of the governor of the Reserve Bank” said Ndzamo. In August the top seven teams will be invited to Pretoria to the SA Reserve Bank itself, where they will present their statements to the three sitting deputy governors. At the beginning of September, the finalists will be invited back to the Bank to an event hosted by SA Reserve Bank Governor Kganyago and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga where the winner would be announced. Each pupil in the winning team will take home R12,000 plus a study bursary which includes tuition, accommodation and a stipend, and the winning school gets R25,000.
The Momentum Metropolitan Foundation (MMF) recently facilitated a council session with its NPO partners to spark critical conversations to combat South Africa’s rising youth unemployment. The Foundation focuses on enabling life aspirations and sustainable earning potential of young people through employment programmes and job placement Nkosinathi Mahlangu, Youth Employment Portfolio Head at Momentum Metropolitan said, “This session gave our six partners in the youth development and employment space a forum to learn, share ideas and strategies. It also became a safe space to share best practices and understand how each of us play our part in creating sustainable jobs for our country’s youth.” NPOs who were in the room mentioned that many candidates are not ready to access the opportunities and ride the challenges vital to the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). The NPO’s also mentioned the importance of digital skills and how they should have been enforced at a foundational school level so that matriculants arrive at tertiary level with a basic level of understanding. NPO’S urged schools to introduce vocational skills training to empower drop-outs to manage and cope when attending NPO skills development programmes. According to Rashuping Morake from Rhiza Babuyile “NPO’s don’t talk about the fact that they are each other’s competitors for funding. That is why it is significant that Momentum has made the effort to bring everyone together as partners, not competitors. One of MMF’s partners from Quadpara Association of South Africa (QASA) spoke about challenges that restricted them from being able to provide services effectively. QASA’s candidates are wheelchair bound and have found that most of them drop out of school due to issues ranging from disability unfriendly facilities and financial challenges. QASA has found this challenging because most of its programmes require a matric certificate, leaving many disabled young people unable to find a path to financial success. “We have a common goal through these partnerships. It is imperative that we start working closer together as a collective so we can fast-track economic upliftment among our youth. Our collaborative approach and our partner’s efforts will be the catalyst for our country’s journey to success,” concluded Mahlangu. By Amanda Mkhize
Google recently launched a child online safety programme, Be Internet Awesome in South Africa, the Netherlands and Nigeria. In support of the programme,Google announced a $1m pan-AfricanGoogle.org fund to support innovative ideas around privacy, trust and safety for families online across sub-Saharan Africa. Funding applications will be requested through an open call and the fund will be administered by a partner in South Africa. Be Internet Awesome seeks to help minors explore the internet safely and confidently, while the Google.org grant will provide funding to help develop further programmes that aim to do this, for children and their families. The programme will teach kids important skills for surfing the internet, like how to recognise potential online scams, using the internet securely and safeguarding valuable information, how to identify and refrain from cyberbullying, as well as what to do when coming across questionable content on the internet. According to Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Head of public policy and government relations at Google Africa, “Children are being exposed to the internet at their most vulnerable age so it’s important for us, at Google, to ensure that they do so as safely as possible. At the same time, teachers and parents can use these resources in order to support and guide children as they navigate the Web,”. Google has worked with the South African Film and Publications Board (FPB) as a key policy partner in implementing the programme locally. ” FPB has a responsibility to protect children from exposure to harmful content, thus the organization needs to play a leading role in creating awareness around the dangers of the internet, as much as it is incumbent on us to also encourage the use of the digital space as an empowering tool,” says Abongile Mashele, Acting Chief Executive Office of FPB. by Amanda Mkhize
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