Post-school youths' schooling experiences and aspirations


  • A/professor Devika Naidoo University of Johannesburg, South Africa



Post-school youth, Basic educational paradigm, Schooling experiences, Aspirations, NEETS (not in education, employment, training)


While three million youth in South Africa are not in education, employment or training (NEETS), not much is known about their schooling experiences nor their aspirations for the future. Eighty-seven post-school youth (PSY) were enrolled at a youth development and organisation (IYDO) centre in a Black township to the south-east of Johannesburg. This paper analyses the perspectives of these post-school youths of their formal schooling experiences and their aspirations for the future. The paper is framed by Willis’s (2000) theory of the basic educational paradigm at the heart of the teaching relationship and intentional resistance from working class boys. Analysis of data showed the failure of the schools attended by the participants in providing a reasonable standard and quality of education as the main cause of dropping out of school. In spite of challenging structural constraints both historical and current, these post-school youth are not disaffected nor disengaged from quality education. Contrary to the literature, they aspire for a better life and for educational opportunities that would enable them to access professional and managerial jobs and upward social mobility. Appadurai’s (2004) theory of culture of aspiration enabled making sense of participants’ aspirations. The issue of post school youth requires not only alternative post school programmes but also attention to schooling practices within formal secondary school education.


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How to Cite

Naidoo, D. (2021). Post-school youths’ schooling experiences and aspirations. Perspectives in Education, 39(2), 19-32.



Research articles