Resistance, Critical Agency and Initiatives of Black Post-School Youth, Facilitators and Organisers in a Black Township in South Africa

Devika Naidoo


The Post-school Education and Training (PSET) policy seeks to address the education and training needs of
post-school youth not in education, employment nor training (NEET). The problem of youth NEET has been
researched from many perspectives. However, there is a dearth of knowledge about the responses, views and actions of
post-school youth NEET living in this precarious situation. This paper analyses the resistance, critical agency and
initiatives of youth; organisers; and facilitators at a youth development and organisation centre in a township in
Gauteng. The study is framed by the notion of ‘critical’ agency (Gramsci: 1971) and Bourdieu’s concept of 'strategies'
that mediate structure and agency. These concepts enable a focus on critical agency that emerge within
severely constraining social conditions. Data were collected through the following sources and methods: from a
'youth dialogue' amongst engaged youth; ethnographic interviews with post-school youth themselves; interviews with
key individuals such as organisers, leaders and facilitators of programmes; and observations of literacy classes offered
at the centre. Data analysis revealed resistant counter discourses amongst the youth to school and current PSET;
acceptance of education for employment; desire for higher quality education; and clear ideas of alternative
pedagogies. In addition to these counter discourses the paper highlights the critical agency of key individuals in the
face of debilitating structural constraints. Implications for the post school education and training system are raised
and some recommendations are made.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Devika Naidoo

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email:

Copyright © Sciedu Press


To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.