Resource shifts in South African schools after the political transition

van der Berg S. (2001)


Although racial data are no longer available, this article uses a 1997 dataset to compare education spending with the pre-democracy situation. The new government emphasised fiscal resource shifts to eliminate spending discrimination rather than changing educational outcomes. Fiscal resource shifts in education and increased education spending were concentrated in formerly black schools. At the geographic level, non-metropolitan regions gained massively. Yet, as qualified teachers remain scarce in poorer schools, fiscal inequalities have remained, also among black schools. In addition, private resources have considerably supplemented the resources of affluent schools. The large spending shift was mainly a fiscal one (higher teacher salaries in poor schools), although real resource shifts (in pupil/teacher ratios) were not insubstantial. However, poor matriculation results indicate that additional resources, whether fiscal or real, were poorly translated into improved educational outcomes. As equity in education should be measured by equitable educational outcomes rather than equity in educational resource allocation, much work remains to be done.

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