Policy Briefs archive 2008 to 2013

2013 Briefs

Mid-level providers: The invisible cadre in the provision of human resources for health in southern Africa - policy implications for South Africa
A WILDSCHUT, A MANAMELA, L HUICHO, Z LA SSI and Z BHUTTA
South Africa’s health system is on the verge of major change. Proposals for a National Health Insurance (NHI) are moving along rapidly towards implementation. In the past, the appropriateness of such a system was the subject of debate amongst health system stakeholders (Department of Science and Technology, DST 2012).

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The relevance and possibility of attaining the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 in South Africa (July 2013)

M CHITIGA-MABUGU AND N TSAONAMATSIE
This policy brief, on the relevance and possibility of attaining the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, is based on studies carried out by a number of national departments and international organisations. Key among them is a recent study that explores the economic impact of different options for creating and using fiscal space1 to attain outstanding Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (Chitiga et al. 2011). In this exercise, which made use of a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model, fiscal space was simulated by mobilising additional revenue (resources) through increased domestic revenue, and a number of possible scenarios were drawn up and analysed.

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Fast-tracking value-added analysis to ensure fairer assessment: A South African perspective (March 2013)

K YU and G FREMPONG
South Africa has a high enrolment rate and a high investment rate in education (about 5 per cent of GDP), but education is still of unsatisfactory quality. We propose in this policy brief wider usage of value-added assessment (VAA) and analysis (which provides a more reliable estimate of the value added – the extent to which schools make a difference in their learners’ achievement levels) in policy decision-making.

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The role of language and literacy in preparing South African learners for educational success: Lessons learnt from a classroom study in Limpopo Province (March 2013)

CH PRINSLOO and K HEUGH
Alarmingly few learners in South African schools can read and write competently. At one level, solving the problem is going to be difficult and complex. At another level, in order to turn around dysfunctional literacy development in primary schools, there are a number of simple and easy-to implement strategies that could be put in place immediately.

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'Mind the gap': Observations in the absence of guidelines for alcohol abstinence among expectant women in South Africa (March 2013)

L JACOBS, N STEYN and D LABADARIOS
This policy brief examines the alcohol consumption policies of the National Department of Health’s approach to alcohol use in South Africa. In particular, it focuses on the food-based dietary guideline (FBDG) on alcohol promulgated by the Department of Health in 2001: ‘If you drink alcohol, drink sensibly.’

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Improving teaching and learning through the South African Annual National Assessment: Challenges, possibilities and solutions (March 2013)

G FREMPONG, V REDDY and K MACKAY
In this policy brief, we argue for a policy direction to develop a culture of formative assessment through what we term ANA Professional Development (ANA_PD) programmes.

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Towards the development of a family policy for South Africa (February 2013)

M MAKIWANE and L BERRY
This policy brief highlights the need for policy focused on the needs of families in South Africa. It is the outcome of a study in which participants’ views on critical issues encountered by families in South Africa highlighted some of their most pressing challenges, most of which are poverty-related. The brief presents participants’ views on a proposed policy framework targeting families and providing for the promotion of family wellbeing. It proposes that the South African government adopt the recommendations made by participants to strengthen families in order to combat the debilitating effects of development challenges and other socio-economic risk factors.

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Promoting young fathers' positive involvement in their children's lives (January 2013)

S SWARTZ, A BHANA, L RICHTER and A VERSFELD
Many young fathers want to be active parents and have a strong sense of responsibility towards their children. They are, however, confronted with numerous barriers. This policy brief makes recommendations for policies and programmes to increase young fathers’ chances of being positive, involved parents.

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Promoting young fathers' positive involvement in their children's lives - See more at: http://www.hsrc.ac.za/en/research-outputs/view/6195#sthash.W5eNyHko.dpuf

2012 Briefs

Inequalities in agricultural support for women in South Africa (November 2012)

T HART and M ALIBER
This brief, drawn from several studies since 2005 in which the authors were involved, as well as an analysis of the 2009 General Household Survey (GHS), shows the challenges women farmers face in accessing the type of support they need and makes policy recommendations.

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Community service dietitians delivering an effective nutrition service: What are the policy options? (August 2012)

NP STEYN
This policy brief deals with an opportunity to improve the delivery of nutrition services to patients attending healthcare service facilities in South Africa by utilising dietitians and/or newly registered nutritionists who are undertaking their compulsory community service year.

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The country we want to live in: Hate crimes and homophobia in the lives of black lesbian South Africans (March 2012)

N MKHIZE, J BENNETT, V REDDY & R MOLETSANE
This policy brief looks at the socio-political environment experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) living in South Africa, it looks at terminology and perspective. The brief calls for policies that protect the rights of all, including LGBTI people, it calls for public condemnation of these crimes by NGOs, donors and international agencies, and for these agencies to continue to document and raise visibility about hate crimes directed at lesbians.

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Citizen Report Card Surveys, A tool for effective social accountability (March 2012)

SB ZAMA
This policy brief recommends a starting point to remedy service delivery. It looks at tools to monitor government services in terms of accountability and efficiency, effective mechanisms which can be used by municipalities to consult and communicate with citizens, and it explores strengthening participation and creating open engagement. (both positive and negative feedback is key to achieving this).

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Protecting food insecure households against rapid food price inflation (March 2012)

P JACOBS
Higher food prices increase the overall cost of living. This policy brief explores an integrated food security strategy, looks at the social grant system and food price inflation. It identifies ways to ensure a more food secure future for vulnerable South Africans, including gender-based targeting in food security, stabilisation of food prices and an M&E system for early support.

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Educator leave in the South African public schooling system (March 2012)

C PRINSLOO & V REDDY
This policy brief takes a look at how to manage and reduce leave-taking by educators to reduce the loss of teaching and learning time for students. Recommendations include: reducing the educator leave rates in schools where it is higher than 10%; improving working conditions to encourage educators and learners to attend school; improving the process of recording leave and administrative systems and support in schools; recording leave for official business on a central database and monitoring the national leave rates.

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Technological initiatives for rural development (March 2012)

T HART, M ALIBER, B LETTY, M MSIBI, M BAIPHETHI & Z NXELE
This policy brief makes a number of recommendations in order to improve the effectiveness of technological initiatives such as social facilitation, challenges and conditions, building institutional, technical and non-technical capacity among project beneficiaries, encouraging entrepreneurs and establishing an M&E system that allows for challenges to be identified and addressed to ensure impact..

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Reclaiming indigenous languages for posterity (March 2012)

K YU
This policy brief explores reality in conflict with policy intention, why indigenous languages are under-studied and how to reinvigorate indigenous languages.

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2011 Briefs


The gendered dimensions of food security in South Africa: A review of the literature (March 2011)

V Reddy and R Molesane  

This policy brief explores women as a central factor in food security. It investigates the gendered dimensions of hunger and malnutrition in South Africa, in order to foster an understanding of the relations between gender, food insecurity and policy. 

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Gender equality in the mathematics and science school curriculum (March 2011)
R Moletsane and V Reddy
This policy brief focuses on the extent to which gender equality policies and interventions impact on teachers’ commitment to MDG3. It investigates South African educators’ perceptions, attitudes and beliefs regarding girls’ access to, participation and success in mathematics and science in high schools. 

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Women's participation in industrial science, engineering and technology (March 2011)

R Moletsane and V Reddy  

Although women’s entry into higher education in South Africa over the past decade has increased, they remain under-represented within the Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) sector.  

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South African Crude Oil Import Portfolio Risks: which way out? (February 2011)

N Wabiri and H Amusa 

This policy brief explores the nature of South Africa’s oil-import risks and the impact on oil prices; potential government diversification strategies to mitigate against such risks; and the impact of such strategies on South Africa’s oil-import diversification policy. 

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Decisive action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (January 2011)

Dr David Hemson, Dr Edward Chikhwenda, Prof Wilbard Kombe and Dr Morena Rankgopo

This research brief reports on a set of studies undertaken by the HSRC and research partners in Botswana, Malawi, and Tanzania in 2009–2010 and which reviewed 51 MDG targets. It found that 18 targets would be reached by 2015 but that the pace of change was too slow in 22 others. In 11 targets no progress was recorded. 

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2008 Briefs

High university drop-out rates: a threat to South Africa's future (March 2008)

Moeketsi Letseka and Simeon Maile

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Age of hope or anxiety? Dynamics of the fear of crime in South Africa (March 2008)

Benjamin Roberts

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No sign of a dependency culture in South Africa (March 2008)

Michael Noble and Phakama Ntshongwana

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