Impact of ICTs for Sustainable Development of Youth Employability

Impact of ICTs for Sustainable Development of Youth Employability

Abiodun Alao (University of Johannesburg, South Africa) and Roelien Brink (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 33
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4882-0.ch006
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The Fourth Industrial Revolution (41R) era requires industries to adopt the use of technology and specialised study accomplished with digital knowledge. This has contributed to the high rate of unemployment and job loss of people, especially the youths without digital knowledge. The objective of this study is to understand how ICTs can be used for the sustainable development of youth employability. The youths are among the low-income populations that require access to information on industry requirement for improved employability and the provision of digital skills training will allow them to have the knowledge to use ICTs to access information on the relevant job skills needed in the labour market. The sustainable livelihood theory was used to guide the study. Recommendations for the study will allow the government, ICT policymakers, and stakeholders to use ICTs for the sustainable development of youths and improve employability.
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The rate of unemployment is escalating in the third world. In countries such as South Africa, unemployment has risen over the years, from 21.5% to almost 28.0% (Statistics SA, 2018), and it still continues to be on the rise. Unemployment refers to when persons above a specified age (usually above 15) are not in paid employment or self-employment and are currently available for work (OECD, 2003). The Quarterly Labour Force Survey of 2018 (Statistics SA, 2018) claims 6.2 million South Africans are now unemployed, and 4.3 million have been unemployed for a year or longer. There was a steep decline in employment (down by 237, 000) and an increase in unemployment (up by 62, 000) between the first quarter of 2019 and the fourth quarter of 2018; this led to a decline in the labour force participation rate, which was at 59.3% at the time of this study (Statistics SA, 2019).

The South African unemployment rate in the 1st quarter of 2019 increased by 0.5 percentage points, to 27.6% (Statistics SA, 2019). Moreover, youths are significantly affected by the high unemployment rate (Marumo & Sebolaaneng, 2019). The rate of youth unemployment in South Africa has increased to 58.2% in the third quarter of 2019, from 56.4% in the first quarter of 2018. Remarkably, the South African youth unemployment rate averaged 52.65% in 2013, increased to 58.2% in 2019, and reached a record low of 48.80% in the fourth quarter of 2014 (Table 1 presents the rate of youth unemployment).

To tackle unemployment and boost economies, most developing countries are propagating the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and the adoption of technology in the industries is a necessity (Bloem, Van Doorn, Duivestein, Excoffier, Maas & Van Ommeren, 2014). Countries like South Africa are in need of digital skills as forerunners of the 4IR era to boost their economy (Fernández-Sanz, Gómez-Pérez & Castillo-Martínez, 2017; Bloem et al., 2014; Attwood, Diga, Braathen & May, 2013). The country has therefore compelled social partners, research institutions and higher education institutions to adopt the use of information communication and technologies (ICTs) as a possible approach to job creation (Calitz, Poisat & Cullen, 2017).

In order to adopt digital skills, the use of ICT has become crucially important in many countries and have been used as a possible intervention to tackle unemployment (Michael & Samson, 2014). ICTs are those technologies that interlink information technology devices, such as computers and internet connection, with communication technologies like telephones and their telecommunication networks. Michael and Samson (2014) explored the impact of ICTs on the youths and its vocational opportunities in Nigeria. The scholars claim that the unemployment rate has been on the increase globally and has become an epidemic that affects the socio-economic buoyancy of any country (Van Broekhuizen & Van Der Berg, 2016). They claim the high rate of youth unemployment over the years has been used by political aspirants to canvass citizens for political agenda and support in elections, and over time the issue of unemployment has not been adequately addressed (Van Broekhuizen & Van Der Berg, 2016). Hence, the use of ICTs for information gathering and skills development can contribute to overcoming the unemployment epidemic. This indicates that the advent of ICT to access information on industry requirements for improved employability is needed (Michael & Samson, 2014). Ghosh (2011:1) defined ICTs as “A range of electronic technologies which when converged in new configurations are flexible, adaptable, enabling and capable of transforming organisations and redefining social relations”. Moreover, while international organisations such as the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD) claim the costs of using ICTs to build national information infrastructures that contribute towards innovative knowledge societies are high, the cost of not doing so are likely to be much higher if not implemented in countries (Balouza, 2019; Kamel, 2010).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Youths: This refers to a group of young people who may be regarded as young adults. For example, a youth is a person that is from the age of 18 and above.

Sustainable Development: The sustainable development goal refers to the need to meet the desires of people today, without compromising their future needs. This means people cannot continue to use the current resources but are expected to consider reserving the resources for future needs and for future generations. Stabilising and reducing carbon emissions is key to living within environmental limits.

Fourth Industrial Revolution (41R): Is referred to as Industry 4.0, which describes the age of intelligence that involves the use of technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, 3D printing and cloud computing.

Employability: This refers to a person’s ability to gain, maintain employment and obtain new employment when necessary. The term, employability means when a person is capable of attaining a job. For example, employability involves having a set of skills, knowledge, understanding and personal attributes.

ICTs: Information Communication and Technologies.

Telecentres: Telecentres serve as a public centre that consists of computers that are connected to the internet, with a variety of technologies such as telephones, radio, fax, copiers, scanners, laminations and printers in communities where domestic ownership of such equipment is not affordable.

Digital Centre: Refers to as the public access points places where people are allowed to access ICT technologies, the internet as well as other ICT oriented services.

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