Identifying Binding Constraints in Education

Author(s): Servaas van der Berg Nic Spaull Gabrielle Wills Martin Gustafsson

Synthesis Report for the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development (PSPPD)
This research report provides an overview of a large research project undertaken by a team of economists at Stellenbosch University in 2015/16 under the Programme to Support Pro-poor Policy development (PSPPd), a collaboration between the European Union and the South African Presidency. The present research report aims to bring the findings of an in-depth investigation of existing literature and new research conducted for this project together, and show how their varied diagnoses and proposals hang together, thereby providing a coherent portrait of the challenges in the education system as well as viable solutions. Four binding constraints to improved educational outcomes for the poor emerged, namely: (1)  Weak institutional functionality; (2)  undue union influence; (3)  weak teacher content knowledge and pedagogical skill; and (4) wasted learning time and insufficient opportunity to learn. These four factors interact and lead to low educational outcomes for the poor.

PDF (1 MB)