The Presidential Employment Stimulus: Research Opportunities
Cite:Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), (2021). The Presidential Employment Stimulus: Research Opportunities. DOI 10.17159/assaf.2021/0069
The Panel discussion titled “The Presidential Employment Stimulus: Research Opportunities”, was hosted on 10 December 2020 by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) at the Science Forum South Africa (SFSA) 2020. The Presidential Employment Stimulus was launched in parliament on 15 October as part of government’s Economic Recovery Strategy. It directly funds 800,000 employment opportunities that are being implemented within the current financial year, but it is anticipated that it will also become a medium-term programme. The stimulus includes public employment programmes, job retention programmes and direct support to livelihoods. The single largest programme is run by the Department of Basic Education, which, in the last fortnight, recruited 300,000 young people as school assistants, to assist schools to deal with the setbacks faced as a result of the pandemic. The stimulus supports employment in the environmental sector and over 75,000 subsistence producers are receiving production grants through an input voucher scheme. There is a once-off grant to assist over 100,000 registered and unregistered Early Childhood Development Practitioners back on their feet, as well as a significant stimulus to the creative sector. The session set out to provide an introduction to the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP), a key programme within government’s economic recovery plan led by Dr Kate Philip. The key objective was to get input from the research community on how the work that they are already doing and future work could contribute to the M&E efforts and be augmented in such a way that the PESP could become a medium-term programme. The DSI plans to hold further engagements in 2021 to mobilise the wider research community to provide evidence-based research in order to shape the research agenda that would support the M&E work and identify short-term issues that need to be factored into the department’s work plans, under the guidance of Dr Philip.