News & events


Poor Educational Quality in SA: Issues of Equity and Efficiency

05 May 2009
12:30 - 14:00

Date :

05 May 2009

Time :

12:30 – 14:00

Presenters :

Prof. Servaas van der Berg, Professor of Economics, University of Stellenbosch

South African school education is of a poor quality, as both internal and internal evaluations attest. This largely derives from weakly performing schools. For the individuals affected, school choice may be the most important choice they ever make in their lives, in terms of determining their further education, employment, earnings, careers and life chances generally. Absence of quality education is the major factor limiting social mobility.


But educational quality and equity issues cannot be addressed by only dealing with access to the relatively small proportion of schools that function well, or by resource allocation between schools. What is particularly needed is to improve the quality of education in presently largely dysfunctional schools. This is an issue of efficiency and school effectiveness, but it also lies at the heart of educational equity, and socials equity.

Servaas van der Berg is an economics Professor at the University of Stellenbosch. His interests are focused on measuring trends in poverty, inequality, and also fiscal expenditure incidence (the distribution of social spending), as well as on policy issues related to dealing with poverty, including social policy generally, social security, and education. His work on education, much of it within the educational production function tradition, tries to disentangle the impact of school resources, socio-economic status of students and school efficiency on educational outcomes, searching for reasons for the continuing poor outcomes of the largest parts of the school population, and possible policy options.


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Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Contact Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, or e-mail