Recent Conferences

Third annual conference on Quantitative Applications in Education – 28 – 29 September 2017 (STIAS)

ReSEP held its third annual “Quantitative Applications in Education Research” conference at STIAS in Stellenbosch from 28 – 29 September 2017.  It was co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Zenex Foundation as well as the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. A total of 110 participants from a range of backgrounds, including education researchers, policy-makers and PhD students attended the conference.

During her video address, Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, welcomed participants to the conference and expressed her support for the ongoing research conducted within the ReSEP group:

I want to acknowledge the invaluable role played by the Research on Socio-Economic Policy (ReSEP) team in producing such rigorous research and the important links they maintain with the Department of Basic Education (DBE). We hope that this partnership continues in years to come, and is also extended to previously disadvantaged universities in order to increase the production of high quality, policy relevant research within the sector”.

Professor Servaas van der Berg gave the first presentation of the conference titled “How we’ve progressed” where he emphasized the improvements in TIMSS between 2003 and 2015, and also the large increase in the numbers of black matriculants receiving high-level passes in mathematics and science.

Two international keynote speakers, namely David Evans from the World Bank and Yuri Belfali from the OECD, respectively presented on  “Getting the most out of our teachers: Lessons from recent quantitative research” and “International assessment for excellence and equity: Experiences from PISA for Development”.

Both presentations were well received by the audience eliciting a number of questions about the role of international assessments in education policy making and the politics of teacher reform in developing countries.

The first day of the conference ended with a panel discussion on “The practice of improvement:  Getting from here to there” which was chaired by ReSEP’s Dr Nic Spaull and included panellists Prof Jonathan Jansen (UFS), Prof Brahm Fleisch (WITS), Prof Peliwe Lolwana (WITS) and Dr Itumeleng Molale.

The second day of the conference also included two parallel sessions where PhD students were given the opportunity to present their PhD proposals and ongoing research and gain valuable feedback from the conference participants.

The full program with links to all presentations can be found below:

28 September (Day 1)

29 September (Day 2)

One of the keynote speakers at the conference, David Evans, wrote a blog post summarising the conference.  The original can be found here.

For any further information about the conference, please email

Conference on Quantitative Applications in Education – 19 – 20 September 2016 (STIAS)

On the 19th and 20th of September this year, RESEP hosted the “Conference on Quantitative Applications in Education” at STIAS. The conference was attended by 85 participants from government, academia and civil society, with a keynote address by the Minister of Basic Education Ms Angie Motshekga

In her address, the Minister highlighted the importance of basing education policy on rigorous research. The Minister reiterated the important links between her Department and the research community:

“I want to acknowledge the valuable work that has been generated by the RESEP group recently. And not only be those directly part of RESEP, but also by many others here today, who are part of a growing network of people focused on understanding the challenges of the education sector and on offering solutions that can be implemented at a policy level. The two reports released earlier this year by RESEP have been tremendously influential in shaping thinking around what should be the priorities in education policy. These are the report on “Binding Constraints” in the sector and the report on “Laying Firm Foundations” through getting reading right.”

The conference heard from two international researchers based at the Research Triangle Institute: Dr Luis Crouch and Dr Benjamin Piper. Further presentations were given by researchers from the Department of Basic Education, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), the Joint Education Trust (JET), as well as those based at the University of Johannesburg, the University of Stellenbosch, the University of Cape Town, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the University of Witwatersrand. Links to the powerpoint presentations can be found below:

Day 1

 Day 2




Quantitative Applications in Education Research17 & 18 August 2015 (STIAS)

For the full schedule please click here (PDF 432kb).

Speakers and Presentations: