By Sone Thasi |

A job is not just the daily duties that one performs for a company; it is the very clothes that we wear, the food we eat, the house we call home, and the schools we send our children to. It is our way of making a living, and for some, it is our identity. Unfortunately, the lack of job opportunities has been a constant battle in South Africa.

A few years ago, we could have various arguments about the causes of unemployment in South Africa; however, today, with no doubt, we know that the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has forced most companies to shed jobs. Most countries have implemented lockdowns to reduce the spread of the virus, and as much as research can prove this method to have worked, it is still the reason most South Africans have been left unemployed.

According to the government website, Statistics South Africa (1):

“The South African economy shed 2,2 million jobs in the second quarter of 2020, according to the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey Quarter 2: 2020 results, released by Statistics South Africa on 29 September 2020. The results indicate that the number of employed persons decreased by 2,2 million to 14,1 million in the 2nd quarter.”

With all this in mind, we must remember that “people create jobs.” Below are several ways online education can help create job opportunities and use it to help themselves and others.

Encouraging NQF status for online certificates

The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is a South African framework used to arrange learning achievement levels. This framework has been used by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) since the NFQ Act of 2008. There are 10 NQF levels, and every legitimate South African qualification needs to have a specific NQF level—this will point out what the student will learn and do with the acquired knowledge.

Most South African companies and employers use these metrics to evaluate their potential employees. Many South Africans who cannot attend a formal university or higher education institution end up being closed from many opportunities. The truth is that as much as the NQF levels represent certain skills and capabilities, they do not define a person. Many highly skilled people are self-taught, from software developers to artists and other different careers.

I believe if more online courses with proctored exams are provided by registered instructors and licensed institutions with specific NQF levels, this will create more opportunities for the people that are not able to afford a full three to four-year degree and self-starters who are able to learn on their own time.

Below are several institutions and companies that provide amazing certifications that lead most people into their careers. Such examples include: DevOps Engineers, Web/Software Developers, Instructors, and many more. Just by learning from online courses and then applying for a proctored exam at an institute, a person has the opportunity to receive a certification. However, most of these certifications still lack NQF levels, which end up being deemed unregistered by most companies.

Company List:

Microsoft Certifications:

AWS Certifications:

Google Certifications:

Oracle Certifications:

Online content creators vs. online content consumers

There is no doubt that the pandemic lockdown caused a growth in online contact consumers—from users buying online, those using entertainment, social media, and streaming platforms; to students using online courses. Not forgetting the self-starters using platforms similar to EDx and other online learning platforms.

Now is the best time for most South Africans to be content consumers and become content creators. Platforms like Edx, Udemy, and YouTube have turned many content creators into millionaires worldwide. We all have something to give; we just need to start motivating ourselves to create content faster than we consume. When you spend your time watching other people, they make money and create opportunities for themselves. However, when you start creating content, you begin to reap the benefits yourself.


Sone Thasi

Sone Thasi

Learning Technologist

Reference list:

(1) Statistics South Africa. (2020). ‘SA economy sheds 2,2 million jobs in Q2 but unemployment levels drop’, Statistics South Africa, 29 September. Available at: (Accessed: 11 January 2021).