Quality education ensures that people, regardless of their backgrounds, are rewarded better opportunities that help drive smart, inclusive growth. Smart and inclusive growth refers to a developing country with confident innovation, which will ensure the employment rate can improve.  It’s no surprise that unemployment has been an issue in South Africa for many years.  According to IOL, in 2020, the unemployment rate has increased to 30,1 percent. To improve economic growth in this country, we need change. Unemployment in South Africa contributes to the widespread of poverty, as well as increased income inequality in the country, as it widens the gap between the poor and the wealthy. Education is the only way of ensuring income inequality can be bridged. Read our article below on how education can drive inclusive and smart economic growth. 

Education helps with skills development

The world is changing because of technology. As much as it is a benefit, those benefits won’t be reaped or help improve the economy if the youth don’t have the required skills for the new world. The labour market is ever-changing and needs quality education skills that will be able to ensure the youth is ready to enter the workforce. This is why it is important to have quality education infrastructure to ensure all children in South Africa, regardless of their circumstances, are getting the education and skills development they need. This means having qualified teachers, fully equipped libraries, computer labs, sports fields. Having the necessary infrastructure can help children reach their full potential, as they will have school environments that are conducive to learning. 

It is an investment for the country 

There are many economic benefits of education.  Developing the education system in South Africa will help in producing skilled workers that will be able to work in new industries that can improve the country. For example, science and technology are important industries that continue to grow, which will create a demand for employment. Investing in education and school infrastructure, while offering opportunities for young people is an ideal way of equipping the youth with the knowledge they can use in those high demand career fields. Without education being a priority, South Africa won't be able to grow or improve the economy. 

Pushes innovation 

Quality education can help drive innovation. The world faces challenges every day that affect society. Whether it's a pandemic needing healthcare practitioners or international development, resource security or environmental protection; all these issues need an educated workforce that can understand, and be able to help when faced with those challenges. Challenges will always arise, but having an educated society can help deal with those issues through research and innovation. Innovation can impact various industries, helping to save jobs and build more wealth for a country. 

Improves earning power 

Individuals with education have the opportunity to demand higher salaries. This is because they have enough knowledge and skill and contribute to a business’s profits. Tertiary education is important as it gives people the opportunity and ability to ask for an increase from their employers, and will give citizens a chance in a competitive market. Having citizens earn more money can benefit the economy as the economy is about the balance between what people, businesses and the government want to buy and what they want to sell. If people have more money they're able to buy more things which boost businesses and boosts the country’s supply and demand. 

Helps create a knowledge-based economy 

A knowledge-based economy is an expression that describes an economy that moves towards dependence on knowledge, information and high skills to push for economic growth. This economy is driven by a qualified, skilled, well educated and technically minded society. Economists believe that this can be a key driver in ensuring economic growth in a country as the workforce will be efficient, more productive and produce more value to society. 

Final thoughts 

Inclusive growth goes hand in hand with education development. For South Africa’s economy to grow there needs to be a project plan that will work on education and development. And the first thing that needs to be done is to prioritise education infrastructure development. Without financing of large scale projects linked to education, unemployment, and a bad economy will still be in the future of South Africa. A bad economy affects students just as much as it affects other citizens as it hinders their growth and development in improving the state of South Africa. Children are the future and are key in ensuring smart and inclusive growth that can help the economy.