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The case for statecraft in education: The NDP, a recent book on governance, and the New Public Management inheritance

Author

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  • Martin Gustafsson

    (ReSEP, Stellenbosch University, and Department of Basic Education)

Abstract

Statecraft in the sense of building the systems of a capable state is an endeavour that should be taken seriously, yet often it is not. The paper takes issue with a position where hope in a more capable state is to some extent abandoned, or postponed, on the basis of a frustration with history. Such positions are sometimes justified through reference to alternative routes towards progress involving less reliance on a central state, and more reliance on local action and accountability. This paper argues that it is dangerous to dismiss the role of the state, especially without a careful and informed assessment of what is wrong with it. It argues that state dysfunctionality, which is clearly a reality, is so central a development problem that it warrants far more rigorous analysis than what is often found in the literature. Local accountability is also vital, but ideally as a complement to a functioning national system. The problem is not just that proponents of local action can be too quick to dismiss the role of the state. The proponents of capable states, such as the World Bank, are too often overly idealistic and impractical when they offer advice on statecraft. On some important matters, there is a mismatch between the advice and the realities planners face. The paper argues these points in the context of schooling systems, and specifically that of South Africa. It is in part a response to a recent book on governance in the South African schooling sector. It moreover makes reference to South Africa’s National Development Plan.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Gustafsson, 2019. "The case for statecraft in education: The NDP, a recent book on governance, and the New Public Management inheritance," Working Papers 16/2019, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers330
    as

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    File URL: https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2019/wp162019/wp162019.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2007. "The role of education quality for economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4122, The World Bank.
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    4. Lant Pritchett & Michael Woolcock & Matt Andrews, 2013. "Looking Like a State: Techniques of Persistent Failure in State Capability for Implementation," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(1), pages 1-18, January.
    5. Vincent Greaney & Thomas Kellaghan, 2008. "Assessing National Achievement Levels in Education," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 6904, December.
    6. Lant Pritchett & Michael Woolcock & Matt Andrews, 2013. "Looking Like a State: Techniques of Persistent Failure in State Capability for Implementation," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(1), pages 1-18, January.
    7. Ludger Vessman & Jerik Hanushek, 2007. "The role of education quality in economic growth (Part I)," Voprosy obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, National Research University Higher School of Economics, issue 2, pages 86-116.
    8. Martin Gustafsson & Carol Nuga Deliwe, 2017. "Rotten apples or just apples and pears? Understanding patterns consistent with cheating in international test data," Working Papers 17/2017, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    9. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Peter M. Jackson, 2011. "Governance by numbers: what have we learned over the past 30 years?," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(1), pages 13-26, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Learning outcomes; governance; monitoring systems; South Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • O21 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Planning Models; Planning Policy

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