The performance of South African schools : implications for economic development

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dc.contributor.advisor Van der Berg, Servaas
dc.contributor.author Taylor, Stephen en_ZA
dc.contributor.other University of Stellenbosch. Faculty Economic and Management Sciences. Dept. of Economics.
dc.date.accessioned 2010-11-24T05:48:33Z en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2010-12-15T10:15:35Z
dc.date.available 2010-11-24T05:48:33Z en_ZA
dc.date.available 2010-12-15T10:15:35Z
dc.date.issued 2010-12 en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5150
dc.description Thesis (PhD (Economics)--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.
dc.description.abstract ENGLSIH ABSTRACT: At the time of South Africa‟s transition to democracy the school system was envisaged to be a powerful vehicle for nation-building and transformation. The chronic low performance of the South African school system has subsequently become the subject of widespread public concern. This thesis examines the distribution of cognitive achievement amongst South African children and the factors influencing it, especially socio-economic status, and asks what the implications of this are for future economic development. The methodologies employed are predominantly quantitative as various sources of data are examined in order to collect evidence pertaining to the question above. Chapter 1 lays down a conceptual framework for understanding the role of schooling in economic development. The point is made that although education is often envisaged as a vehicle for development and mobility out of poverty, the home socio-economic status of children impacts significantly on their educational outcomes. Chapter 2 reviews recent and relevant literature to establish main currents of thinking regarding the influence of socio-economic status on educational outcomes. Chapter 3 follows this with an empirical examination of the influence of socio-economic status on reading achievement amongst South African children. The results indicate that the relationship between socio-economic status and educational achievement in South Africa is particularly strong by international standards. Furthermore, the historical divisions within the school system remain key to understanding continuing inequalities in educational outcomes. The socio-economic status of students is crucial in determining which part of the school system students enter; then for those entering the historically disadvantaged system the chances of achieving high quality educational outcomes are small, regardless of their home background. The main priority in the latter part of chapter 3 and thereafter is the attempt to identify factors that improve cognitive achievement, given the socio-economic context of schools and their students. In chapter 4, this search is taken up by examining a rich collection of data regarding school and teacher practices in South African primary schools. In chapter 5 this is done by analysing trends in the ability of high schools to convert demonstrated grade 8 achievement into matric outcomes. An additional perspective is provided through a comparison of the performance of South Africa‟s independent and public schools in Chapter 6. The final chapter summarises the results from these various approaches and highlights several key areas on which, it is recommended, attempts to improve South Africa‟s schools should focus. These include the management of school resources, teacher work ethic, time management and planning within schools, curriculum coverage, the accuracy of assessment and feedback to students, and parent commitment to education. Improving these areas within the large and struggling part of the South African school system will be decisive for the country‟s economic development. en
dc.description.abstract AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ten tye van Suid-Afrika se demokratiese oorgang is die skoolstelsel as ʼn sterk instrument vir nasiebou en transformasie gesien. Die kroniese swak vertoning van die Suid-Afrikaanse skoolstelsel het sedertdien tot wye openbare besorgdheid gelei. Hierdie proefskrif ondersoek die verdeling van kognitiewe prestasie onder Suid-Afrikaanse kinders en die faktore wat dit beïnvloed, veral sosio-ekonomiese status, asook die implikasies daarvan vir toekomstige ekonomiese ontwikkeling. Die metodologie wat gebruik word, is hoofsaaklik kwantitatief, want verskeie databronne word ondersoek om getuienis in te win rakende bogenoemde vraagstuk. Hoofstuk 1 stel ʼn konseptuele raamwerk daar om die rol van onderwys in ekonomiese ontwikkeling te verstaan. Die punt word gemaak dat, alhoewel onderwys dikwels as ʼn instrument vir ontwikkeling en uitstyging uit armoede gesien word, die sosio-ekonomiese status van kinders se huislike omgewing hulle onderwysuitkomste beduidend beïnvloed. Hoofstuk 2 bied ʼn oorsig van onlangse en relevante literatuur om die hoofstrome van denke oor die invloed van sosio-ekonomiese status op onderwysuitkomste aan te dui. Hoofstuk 3 volg dit op met „n empiriese ontleding van die invloed van sosio-ekonomiese status op leesvaardigheid onder Suid-Afrikaanse kinders. Die resultate dui daarop dat die verband tussen sosio-ekonomiese status en onderwysuitkomste volgens internasionale standaarde in Suid-Afrika besonder sterk is. Verder is die historiese verdelingslyne binne die skoolstelsel van sleutelbelang om voortgesette ongelykheid in onderwysuitkomste te verstaan. Die sosio-ekonomiese status van studente bepaal grootliks tot watter deel van die skoolstelsel kinders toegang kry. Vir daardie kinders wat in die histories-afgeskeepte deel van die stelsel beland, is die waarskynlikheid van hoë gehalte onderwys klein, ongeag hulle gesinsagtergrond. Die klem in die laaste gedeelte van hoofstuk 3 en daarna val daarop om faktore te identifiseer wat kognitiewe uitkomste verbeter, gegewe die sosio-ekonomiese konteks van skole en studente. In hoofstuk 4 word hierdie speurtog voortgesit deur ʼn ryk verskeidenheid data rakende skole en onderwysers se praktyke in Suid-Afrikaanse laerskole te ondersoek. In hoofstuk 5 word dit gedoen deur ʼn analise van die vermoë van hoërskole om graad 8-vlak prestasie in graad matriekuitkomste te omskep. ʼn Vergelyking van die prestasie van Suid-Afrika se onafhanklike skole met openbare skole in hoofstuk 6 bied verdere perspektief hierop. Die finale hoofstuk som die bevindinge van hierdie verskillende benaderings op en belig sekere sleutelaspekte waarop pogings om Suid-Afrika se skole te verbeter klem behoort te lê. Dit sluit in bestuur van skoolhulpbronne, onderwysers se werksetiek, tydsbestuur en beplanning binne skole, dekking van die kurrikulum, die akkuraatheid van assessering en terugvoer daaroor aan studente, en ouers se betrokkenheid by onderwys. Verbetering op hierdie gebiede binne die groot, sukkelende deel van die Suid-Afrikaanse skoolstelsel sal deurslaggewend wees vir die land se ekonomiese ontwikkeling. af
dc.format.extent 369 p. : ill.
dc.language.iso en
dc.publisher Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch
dc.subject Education -- South africa en_ZA
dc.subject Academic achievement -- Socio-economic influences -- South Africa en_ZA
dc.subject School functionality -- South Africa en_ZA
dc.subject Dissertations -- Economics en
dc.subject Theses -- Economics en
dc.title The performance of South African schools : implications for economic development en_ZA
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.holder University of Stellenbosch


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