Hierarchical, horizontal and patronage governance of basic education in South Africa's Western Cape and Eastern Cape
Date: 05 April 2017 | Time: 12h30 – 14h00 | Venues: Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth
Presenter: Professor Brian Levy, Academic Director, Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice, University of Cape Town
Chair: Professor Crain Soudien, CEO of the HSRC
In South Africa, as elsewhere, access to education has increased radically but quality remains low, in part because of weaknesses in governance. In this seminar, Professor Brian Levy will provide an overview of the results of multi-disciplinary research on the political and institutional drivers of the performance of basic education in South Africa, focusing on results from the Western and Eastern Cape provinces. Major findings include:
The Western Cape bureaucracy does well the core bureaucratic tasks of managing resources – but a well-functioning bureaucracy does not provide a sufficient governance platform for achieving good educational outcomes. Some case study schools seemingly were compliant with formal processes, but in practice were locked into a low-level equilibrium of mediocrity.
Horizontal governance emerged as a partial substitutes for bureaucratic weaknesses. Though predatory capture is common, pro-active engagement by school governing bodies and parents helped sustain performance in some Eastern Cape case study schools, and turn around dysfunction in others.
Bureaucratic reform requires difficult-to-achieve supportive political circumstances. The results point to the potential for complementary interventions which tilt school-level governance dynamics in a developmental direction.
The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.
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