South Africa equity and quality reforms: possible lessons

South Africa equity and quality reforms: possible lessons

Education reforms in South Africa: what have been the impacts on equity and quality?

In the period 1995 to 2002 South Africa managed to make major policy changes in education. Almost everything about the education sector has changed. This transformation has been approached deliberatively, consultatively, and with considerable attention to a sound legal base. This paper focuses on policies aimed at resource distribution in the education sector in South Africa. It documents significant improvements in certain measures of resource inequality.

The author finds that the transformation is beginning to produce results, first in equity and now – slowly but increasingly certainly – in quality. There have been surprises and difficult environmental changes that have worked against earlier hopes, but these obstacles are being faced down, some better than others. The example of South Africa’s innovativeness and careful dedication in reforming the equity and quality issues behind its educational system can perhaps serve as a useful lesson for other countries. South Africa - eight years after sowing the seeds of transformation - is only now beginning to reap the fruits, further example to the world that such profound reforms take years to design, more years to implement, and even more years to bear fruit. [adapted from author]