Social gradients, early childhood education and schools performing above the demographic expectation: empirical insights into educational issues

Kotze, Janeli (2017-03)

Thesis (DCom)-- Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : This dissertation exploits the wide variety of datasets available on the South African education system to consider select education issues. The purpose of this is to contribute relevant empirical research to inform current debates and discussions relating to issues and policies in the South African education system which might be entrenching the inequalities of the past and thereby impeding on future improvement. The first part of the dissertation provides a new perspective on within country educational inequality among different education systems by comparing data from seven Sub-Saharan countries and sixteen Latin-American countries. When comparing the effect of socio-economic status (SES) on education across countries, researchers have always been faced with a trade-off between the accuracy of the SES measure within countries and the comparability of the measure across countries. This has often caused measures of SES to be incorrectly used to compare relative wealth across different countries and contexts. This chapter sets forth a new methodology to adjust the traditional measures of SES and make them more comparable across countries and surveys. Furthermore, the comparable SES measure is applied to compare children in equally impoverished circumstances across countries, sub-samples and datasets to more accurately identify the most disadvantaged children across the world. More specifically this method will be applied to the SACMEQ (Sub-Saharan Africa) and SERCE (Latin America) education datasets to compare the educational outcomes of those students living under the $3.10 a day poverty line. Most strikingly, the comparison shows that Ugandan and Mozambican children living under the $3.10 a day poverty line achieve much higher educational outcomes than similarly poor children in middle-income countries such as South Africa and the Dominican Republic. Investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) has the prospect of cultivating extraordinary potential within individuals and can assist in bridging the social equity gap from a very young age. Over the past decade Grade R has been the strongest policy lever used by the Department of Basic Education to early learning. The National Development Plan has, however, called for universal access to two years of early childhood development prior to entering Grade 1. Chapter three explores the merits of this proposal given the specific South African context. More specifically, this analysis intends to bring new information to bear on three matters. The first relates to the demand-side and aims to identifying participation trends among four- and five-year-olds. Moreover, an attempt is made to obtain a profile of those learners not attending any form of preschooling currently. The second objective is to consider the supply-side and aims to understand the policy space in which pre-Grade R will function, the quality and quantity of infrastructure already in place, and the expertise of ECD practitioners. Finally, the implementation of a universally accessible pre-Grade R within a constrained system and the requirements for ensuring that it will have a significant impact on those children most in need are discussed. Drawing on three uniquely constructed datasets using the 2012-2014 Universal Annual National Assessments (U-ANAs), the 2013 Verification ANA (V-ANA) and the 2011 School Monitoring Survey, the fourth chapter investigates the prevalence and performance of poor schools which manage to perform above the demographic expectation. Overall it is evident that only 5% of all Quintile 1 – 3 schools, serving only 4% of the learner population in Quintile 1 – 3 schools, manage to perform at an acceptable level. The study estimates that poor learners who attend these above average schools, gain up to a year of additional learning relative to their peers in weak performing schools. Finally the study shows that strong school management and governance and supportive bureaucratic accountability are associated with the higher performance observed in these schools.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie tesis maak gebruik van die wye verskeidenheid van datastelle wat beskikbaar is aangaande die Suid-Afrikaanse onderwysstelsel, om spesifieke kwessies met betrekking tot die onderwyskrisis te ondersoek. Die doel is om met behulp van relevante empiriese navorsing ’n bydra te lewer tot die huidige gesprekke oor die kwessies en beleidvorming in die Suid-Afrikaanse onderwysstelsel wat die ongelykhede van die verlede verder vasle, en sodoende vooruitgang belemmer. Die eerste gedeelte van die tesis lewer ‘n nuwe perspektief oor die ongelykhede in opvoedkundige uitkomstes wat bestaan in lande, deur die ongelykhede van sewe Sub-Sahara lande en sestien Latyn-Amerikaanse lande met mekaar te vergelyk. In die vergelyking van die verhouding tussen sosio-ekonomiese status (SES) en leerder-prestasie, het navorsers nog altyd met die keuse gesit tussen ‘n meer akkurate meting van SES of ‘n meer vergelykbare meting van SES. Hierdie keuse het gewoonlik gelei tot die ontoepaslike gebruik van SES om relatiewe rykdom te vergelyk tussen verskillende lande. Hierdie hoofstuk stel ‘n nuwe metode voor om die tradisionele meting van SES aan te pas sodat dit beide ‘n meer akkurate meting van rykdom binne in ‘n land sal verskaf, en meer vergelykbaar tussen lande sal wees. Die nuwe meting word toegepas om kinders te vergelyk wat van ewe verarmde omstandighede afkomstig is, maar in verskillende lande woon. Verder kan die meting ook gebruik word om kinders in verskillende datastelle met mekaar te vergelyk. Sodoende kan die mees gemarginaliseerde kinders in die wereld geidentifiseer word. Meer spesifiek word hierdie metode toegepas op die SACMEQ (Sub-Sahara Afrika) en SERCE (Latyn Amerika) datastelle om die opvoedkundige uitkomstes van die leerders wat onder die $3.10 ‘n dag broodlyn lewe te vergelyk. Die mees treffendste wat hier gevind is, is dat leerders wat onder die $3.10 ‘n dag broodlyn lewe in laer inkomste lande soos Uganda en Mosambiek, beter vaar as leerders van ewe arm omstandighede in middel inkomste lande soos Suid-Afrika en die Dominikaanse Republiek. Investering in vroee kinderontwikkeling het die vermoe om uitsonderlike potensiaal in individue te ontgin, en kan ‘n belangrike rol speel om die sosiale ongelykheidsgaping van ‘n jong ouderdom al te oorbrug. Oor die laaste dekade was Graad R gesien as die sterkste beleidshefboom wat gebruik was deur die Departement van Basiese onderwys om vroee kinderontwikkeling te beinvloed. Die Nasionale Ontwikkelingsplan stel egter voor dat alle kinders moet toegang kry tot twee verpligte jare van vroee kinderontwikkeling voordat hulle Graad 1 betree. Die derde hoofstuk oorweeg die meriete van hierdie voorstel gegewe die spesifieke Suid-Afrikaanse konteks. Meer spesifiek, hierdie analise poog om nuwe inligting na vore te bring rakende drie sake. Die eerste handel oor die vraag-kant en identifiseer die deelname/bywoningskoerse van vier- en vyf-jariges. ‘n Poging word ook aangewend om ‘n profiel vas te stel van die kinders wat geen vorm van voorskool bywoon nie. Die tweede doel is om die aanbod-kant te oorweeg, deur ‘n beter begrip te kry van die beleidsomgewing waarin Voor-Graad R sal funksioneer, die kwaliteit en hoeveelheid hulpbronne wat daar reeds beskikbaar is, en die bekwaamheid van die voorskoolse opvoeders. Laastens word die implementering van ’n universeel toeganklike Voor-Graad R in ‘n beperkte stelsel bespreek, veral met die doel om vas te stel watter vereistes daar is om te verseker dat Voor-Graad R die gewenste impak het op die kinders wat die meeste daarby kan baat. Deur gebruik gemaak van drie datastelle wat spesifiek saamgestel is uit die 2012-2014 “Annual National Assessments (ANA)”, die 2013 “Verification ANA” en die 2011 “School Monitoring Survey”, ondersoek die vierde hoofstuk die voorkoms en prestasie van arm skole wat dit regkry om bo verwagtinge te presteer. Dit blyk dat net 5% van alle kwintiel 1 – 3 skole, wat net 4% van die leerders in 1 – 3 skole bedien, dit regkry om teen ‘n aanvaarbare vlak te presteer. Hierdie studie beraam dat arm leerders wat hulle in hierdie bo-gemiddelde arm skole bevind tot ‘n volle jaar ekstra kan leer relatief tot ewe arm kinders wat swakker skole bywoon. Laastens wys hierdie studie dat sterk leierskap en bestuur in ‘n skool, asook ondersteuning deur burokratiese aanspreeklikheid, geassosieer kan word met die beter prestasie in hierdie skole.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101163
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