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A theory-based evaluation of South Africa’s education policy

dc.contributor.advisorAdams-Jack, Ubanesia
dc.contributor.authorLentsa, Ntina
dc.contributor.otherStellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Political Science.
dc.date.accessioned2019-11-26T10:31:00Z
dc.date.accessioned2019-12-11T06:51:26Z
dc.date.available2019-11-26T10:31:00Z
dc.date.available2019-12-11T06:51:26Z
dc.date.issued2019-12
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107178
dc.descriptionThesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.en_ZA
dc.description.abstractENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis applied a form of theory-based evaluation known as realistic evaluation to uncover and evaluate the assumptions underpinning South Africa’s basic education policy. Advocates of realistic evaluation, Pawson and Tilley (1997), maintain that a good program theory comprises of context, mechanism and outcome (CMO) configurations. Following a document-based study, this thesis made use realistic evaluation as an analytical tool to uncover the CMO and build a program theory that revealed the assumed causal links between inputs and outputs intended to address the policy problem of a lack access to quality basic education. Subsequently, the assumptions underpinning the basic education policy were evaluated by applying the realistic evaluation question of what the basic education policy assumes ‘works, for who, and under what circumstances’. An overview of global trends in program evaluation was given whilst program evaluation in South Africa is detailed in more depth. The literature review conducted found that program evaluation is still developing in South Africa with critical and impact evaluations as the most popular amongst scholars of South African education policy. There is consensus amongst scholars that South Africa’s education policy has not been entirely successful in delivering basic education of acceptable level. However, there is a gap relating to the use of theory-based evaluation to provide clarity on the rationale behind policy interventions. Therefore, this thesis undertook a qualitative approach to evaluate the theory underpinning the basic education. The findings revealed that political history and socioeconomic disparities are the most influential contexts that inform education policy processes. While mechanisms for culture of learning; attracting learners and teachers to school; and fostering receptive learners all inform provision of resources. From these mechanisms, the intended outcomes are improved learner performance, increased enrolment and retention rates and effective school management. The assumptions of the basic education policy regarding what works for who and under what circumstances in order to deliver access to quality basic education were evaluated. The assessment of policy assumptions showed that some of the assumptions are poorly aligned with South African contexts and realities at an individual, school and community level of beneficiaries. These assumptions are poorly aligned because policy-making soon after apartheid ended engaged less with rationalising activities and drawing causal links and more with symbolism. These assumptions are however still informed largely by the political context of apartheid with little account for how democratic processes can influence the success of basic education policy. This thesis also provides a synthesis of the policy notions that inform basic education policy.
dc.description.abstractAFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis het realistiese evaluering gebruik om die teorie en aanname agter die Suid-Afrikaanse basiese onderwysbeleid bloot te lê en te evalueer. Voorstanders van realistiese evaluering, Pawson en Tilley (1997), meen dat 'n goeie programteorie uit konteks, meganisme en uitkoms (CMO) -konfigurasies bestaan. Realistiese evaluering is ‘n vorm van teoriegebaseerde evaluering. Dokumente is bestudeer en gebruik om ‘n programteorie te bou wat die aangenome oorsaaklike skakels tussen insette en uitsette uitlig. Die probleem waarop die programteorie gebou is, is gebrekkige toegang aan gehalte basiese onderwys. Die voorstanders van realistiese evaluering, Pawson en Tilley (1997), handhaaf dat ‘n goeie programteorie bestaan uit ‘n aantal konteks-, meganisme- en uitkomsgroeperings (KMU-groeperings). Daarom het hierdie tesis realistiese evaluering gebruik as ‘n analitiese benadering wat die aangenome oorsaaklike skakels tussen hierdie KMU-groeperings blootlê. Daarna is die programteorie agter die basiese onderwysbeleid geëvalueer aan die hand van die realistiese evalueringsvraag van wat, volgens die beleid se aannames, ‘werk, vir wie, en onder watter omstandighede’. Die tesis het ‘n oorsig oor globale tendense in programevaluering gebied, en Suid-Afrikaanse programevaluering in meer diepte beskryf. Die literatuurstudie het gevind dat programevaluering steeds aan die ontwikkel is in Suid-Afrika, en dat kritiese en impakevaluering die gewildste is onder kundiges met betrekking tot die Suid-Afrikaanse onderwysbeleid. Daar is konsensus onder kundiges dat die Suid-Afrikaanse onderwysbeleid nie heeltemal daarin geslaag het om ‘n aanvaarbare vlak van basiese onderwys te lewer nie. Daar is egter ‘n leemte ten opsigte van die gebruik van teoriegebaseerde evaluering om die logika agter die beleidsingrypings te verklaar. Daarom het hierdie tesis ‘n kwalitatiewe benadering gevolg in die evaluering van die teorie agter basiese onderwys. Dit is bevind dat die politieke geskiedenis en sosio-ekonomiese ongelykhede die mees invloedryke kontekste is wat op die onderwysbeleidsproses inspeel. Die voorsiening van hulpbronne word beïnvloed deur die meganismes vir die bevordering van ‘n leerkultuur; om leerders en onderwysers na die skool toe aan te trek; en om ontvanklikheid in leerders aan te moedig. Die bedoeling is om deur hierdie meganismes die volgende uitkomste te bevorder: leerderprestasie, leerderinskrywings- en leerderbehoudingsgetalleDie aannames omtrent wat werk, vir wie en onder watter omstandighede, is ook geëvalueer. Die beoordeling van beleidsaannames het getoon dat sommige beleide swak ooreenstem met Suid-Afrikaanse kontekste en realiteite op individuele, akademiese en gemeenskapsvlak van begunstigdes. Hierdie aannames is swak in lyn omdat beleidmaking na apartheid geëindig het, minder Stellenbosch University https://scholar.sun.ac.za iv georiënteerd was met die rasionalisering van aktiwiteite en hul oorsaaklike verbande, en meer met simboliek. Hierdie aannames word egter grotendeels beïnvloed deur die politieke konteks van apartheid, met min uiteensetting van hoe demokratiese prosesse die sukses van basiese onderwysbeleid kan beïnvloed. Hierdie tesis bied ook 'n samestelling van die beleidsbegrippe wat die basiese onderwysbeleid inlig.
dc.format.extentix, 98 pages
dc.language.isoen_ZAen_ZA
dc.publisherStellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
dc.subjectEducation and state -- Research -- South Africa
dc.subjectApartheid -- Education and state -- South Africa
dc.subjectEducation -- South Africa
dc.subjectBasic education -- South Africa
dc.subjectEducation policy -- South Africa
dc.subjectUCTD
dc.titleA theory-based evaluation of South Africa’s education policyen_ZA
dc.typeThesisen_ZA
dc.description.versionMasters
dc.rights.holderStellenbosch University


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