Education and socio-economic differentials: A study of school performance in the Western Cape

Van Der Berg S. ; Burger R. (2003)


IN A HIGHLY UNEQUAL SOCIETY IN WHICH LABOUR market inequalities largely have their origin in human capital differentials, it is not surprising that the educational system is seen as a major means of addressing these inequalities. Does the South African educational system accomplish this? The first section of this paper will show that although human capital differentials are narrowing, this is happening slowly and there is still a considerable amount of inequality in the labour market. The next section deals with the central question posed by this paper: to what extent is persistence in school quality inequalities attributable to resource allocation, and to what extent is it attributable to difference in efficiency of resource use. This also relates to an important question of debate in the international literature on the economics of education, viz. how much do resources matter in school performance. In this paper efficiency will be used to refer to the ratio of resources invested to outcomes. In schools this can often be equated with managerial efficiency, as efficiency in schools is mostly dependent on the school's incentive frameworks and the managerial skills of decision makers.

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