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Apartheid's Enduring Legacy: Inequalities in Education-super- 1

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  • Servaas van der Berg

Abstract

This paper provides a broad overview of the economic dimensions of the educational situation in South Africa a decade after the political transition. An important question is whether changes since the transition have substantially ameliorated the role of race in education. Census and survey data show that quantitative educational attainment differentials (years of education) have been substantially reduced, but qualitative differentials remain larger. Despite massive resource shifts to black schools, overall matriculation results did not improve in the post-apartheid period. Thus the school system contributes little to supporting the upward mobility of poor children in the labour market. The persistence of former racial inequalities is reflected in extremely poor pass rates in mainly black schools (the majority of schools), with high standard deviations. Regressions of matriculation pass rates from school level data show that racial composition of schools--as proxy for former school department--remains a major explanatory factor besides socio-economic background (as measured by school fees set by school governing bodies) and educational inputs (measured by teacher--pupil ratios and teacher salaries as proxy for qualifications and experience). Furthermore, remarkable differentials in performance among black schools cannot be accounted for by socio-economic background or teaching resources, pointing to the importance of school management. The malfunctioning of large parts of the school system appears largely a problem of x-inefficiency rather than allocative efficiency. This requires urgent attention to the functioning of poorly performing schools, to permit continued upward mobility of the largest part of the workforce as well as to support sustained economic growth. Copyright 2007 The author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) in its journal Journal of African Economies.

Volume (Year): 16 (2007)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
Pages: 849-880

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:16:y:2007:i:5:p:849-880

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Cited by:
  1. Janine Aron & Tania Ajam, 2007. "Fiscal Renaissance in a Democratic South Africa," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2007-10, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Leubolt, Bernhard, 2014. "Social policies and redistribution in South Africa," ILO Working Papers 485483, International Labour Organization.
  3. Nicola Branson & Julia Garlick & David Lam & Murray Leibbrandt, 2012. "Education and Inequality: The South African Case," SALDRU Working Papers 75, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  4. Debra L. Shepherd, 2011. "Constraints to school effectiveness: what prevents poor schools from delivering results?," Working Papers 05/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  5. Mia de Vos, 2011. "Quantitative and qualitative aspects of education in South Africa: An analysis using the National Income Dynamic Study," Working Papers 06/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  6. Martin Gustafsson & Servaas van der Berg & Debra Shepherd & Cobus Burger, 2010. "The costs of illiteracy in South Africa," Working Papers 14/2010, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  7. Thomas Laurent & Fabrice Murtin & Geoff Barnard & Dean Janse van Rensburg & Vijay Reddy & George Frempong & Lolita Winnaar, 2013. "Policy Determinants of School Outcomes Under Model Uncertainty: Evidence from South Africa," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1057, OECD Publishing.
  8. Derek Yu, 2012. "Youths in the South African labour market since the transition: A study of changes between 1995 and 2011," Working Papers 18/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  9. Paul Mosley, 2013. "Two Africas? Why Africa’s ‘Growth Miracle’ is barely reducing poverty," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 19113, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  10. Martin Gustafsson, 2011. "The when and how of leaving school: The policy implications of new evidence on secondary schooling in South Africa," Working Papers 09/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  11. David Lam & Cally Ardington & Nicola Branson & Murray Leibbrandt, 2013. "Credit Constraints and the Racial Gap in Post-Secondary Education in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 19607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Nicholas Spaull, 2012. "Poverty & Privilege: Primary School Inequality in South Africa," Working Papers 13/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  13. Shinsuke Tanaka & Takahiro Ito, 2014. "Abolishing User Fees, Fertility Choice, and Educational Attainment," IDEC DP2 Series 4-1, Hiroshima University, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC).
  14. Gideon du Rand & Hendrik van Broekhuizen & Dieter von Fintel, 2011. "Numeric competence, confidence and school quality in the South African wage function: towards understanding pre-labour market discrimination," Working Papers 12/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  15. Debra Shepherd, 2013. "A question of efficiency: decomposing South African reading test scores using PIRLS 2006," Working Papers 20/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.

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