Exploring equity and quality education in South Africa using multilevel models
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Educational reform in South Africa envisions schooling where all students, irrespective of their background characteristics, have the opportunity to succeed. To achieve this vision, the South African education system needs to function in such a way that students' success does not depend on their backgrounds; that is, if school processes and policies in South Africa were inclusive and supportive of the learning of all students then we would expect high-quality schools to compensate for socio-economic disadvantage such that the achievement gap associated with the socio-economic status (SES) would be minimised. The main objective of this paper is to explore the relationship between school quality and socio-economic disadvantage. The findings call for the need to rethink the current schooling processes and policies to include structures that allow schools to provide opportunities to
engage learners and their parents in the schooling processes with the objective of compensating for learners' socio-economic disadvantage. We argue that this objective can be achieved through a capability framework where inclusion, democratic
participation and child centredness serve as the major principles of the provision of quality education for all.