The mammoth unemployment rate in South Africa emphasises the serious need to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit in our schools – enter Scooler | The School Entrepreneur Movement who is challenging government and businesses to stop talking about unemployment and commit to creating an entrepreneurial spirit in our schools.
The company’s purpose is to draw Grade 8 to Grade 12 students from across the country and from all walks of life into the School Entrepreneur Movement by making them aware of what entrepreneurship is about and to create and inspire them to shape their own futures by exploring an alternative to mainstream tertiary education.
As early as Grade 8, high-school students are being called upon to make monumental decisions as to their future and career but with the current state of employment in South Africa, limited opportunities make for much tougher choices. Typically, the options for school-leavers are to study, travel or take a gap year, but more and more youngsters are looking to be their own bosses and to shape their own destinies.
But, as the founder of Scooler, Leon Lategan, points out: “We have found a serious lack of information available to students at school around the subject of entrepreneurship, resulting in very few of them exploring this avenue after school.” He adds that statistics reveal grim prospects for school-leavers – 49% of students with Grade 12 and 23.3% with a tertiary education will not find jobs.
One also has to consider the extremely high unemployment rate of 5.98 million in South Africa, the excessive drop-out rates at universities – in 2017 alone, after 4 years studying at University the completion rate was only 36%, and at schools 533 491 students dropped out before reaching Grade 12! The prohibitive cost of tuition is also cause for concern where students can expect to pay no less than R120k for a three year degree, and that excludes living expenses and accommodation, not to mention the fact that more than 50% of students applying to get into university will not be accepted due to limited space. And, just to add salt to the wound there is the threat of automation, artificial intelligence and robotics to vie with too.
Scooler provides a platform for students at school to start asking vital questions and exploring entrepreneurial alternatives. On the website and via their social media platforms, students have access to valuable information about how to run a business; how to secure funding for their business; connection to like-minded youth and exposure of their existing school businesses / money making initiatives to the community, corporates and investors.