ReSEP Projects

Teaching Reading (and Writing) in the Foundation Phase: A Concept Note

Funded by the ZENEX Foundation.

Authors: Elizabeth Pretorius (UNISA), Mary-Jane Jackson (Fort Hare University), Veronica McKay (UNISA), Sarah Murray (Rhodes University), Nic Spaull (Stellenbosch University)

PDF (487 KB)

Laying Firm Foundations: Getting Reading Right

Final Report to the ZENEX Foundation on poor student performance in Foundation Phase literacy and numeracy

Nicholas Spaull, Servaas van der Berg, Gabrielle Wills, Martin Gustafsson & Janeli Kotzé

PDF (606 KB)

Identifying Binding Constraints in Education

Synthesis report for the Programme to support Pro-poor Policy development (PsPPd)

Authors: Servaas van der Berg, Nicholas Spaull, Gabrielle Wills, Martin Gustafsson & Janeli Kotzé

PDF (1212 KB)


Poverty Traps and Social Exclusion among Children in South Africa

A report to the South African Human Rights Commission

Ronelle Burger, Servaas van der Berg, Charles Adams, Marisa Coetzee, Martin Gustafsson, Eldridge Moses, Nic Spaull, Christie Swanepoel, Janeli Viljoen, Asmus Zoch

Report to be released 25 June

 Impact of Grade R Schooling

Summary versions of the Report, the full report, as well as the DBE management response to the Report, can be found on the DPME website.  Alternatively, the same versions of the document can be downloaded here.

Servaas van der Berg, Elizabeth Girdwood, Debra Shepherd, Chris van Wyk, John Kruger, Janeli Viljoen, Olivia Ezeobi & Poppie Ntaka 

Emergent MIddle Class in South Africa 


Study supported by University of Stellenbosch Research Division (Subcommittee A) involving an inter-disciplinary team of researchers from Economics, Political Science and Anthropology located at three universities to investigate trends and implications regarding the phenomenon.

Ronelle Burger, Servaas van der Berg, Cindy Steenekamp, Detlev Krige, Grace Khunou, Pierre du Toit, Asmus Zoch, Thomas Ferreira, Camryn McAravey

Analysis of SACMEQ III 


Nic Spaull, Eldridge Moses, Carlos Maia, Servaas van der Berg, Martin Gustafsson, Stephen Taylor

SACMEQ at a glance 


The SACMEQ at a glance series is part of an ongoing research project on data from the Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ). The aim of these documents is to provide a two page snapshot of some important elements of the primary school system in each of the participating countries, allowing for comparisons both within and between countries. Statistics are reported for ten African countries for SACMEQ II (2000) and SACMEQ III (2007). The ten countries are: Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The results are also presented for three sub-groups: school location (urban and rural), gender (boys and girls), and student wealth (poorest 25% of students and wealthiest 25% of students) for each country. Some of the reported statistics include the prevalence of functional illiteracy and innumeracy, textbook access (reading and mathematics), pupil-teacher ratio, teacher content knowledge, proportion of students receiving a free school meal, as well as the proportion of schools with electricity and water, among many other statistics. These documents should be a helpful resource to researchers and policy-makers alike, providing accessible information in a comparable format. For any queries please email Nicholas Spaull.

Nicholas Spaull

Public Expenditure Analysis of Basic Education in South Africa


Joint project with Oxford Policy Management for the Department of Basic Education and funded by UNICEF. This entailed the analysis of a large volume of data and culminated in 12 reports

John Kruger, Martin Gustafsson, Servaas van der Berg, Chris van Wyk, Alta Fölscher

Graduate Unemployment in South Africa


Study for the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) that found that graduate unemployment is not such a large problem as previously thought.

Hendrik van Broekhuizen, Servaas van der Berg

Feasibility of an impact evaluation of the National School Feeding Programme and GradeR


Scoping study for 3IE, Presidency and the Department of Basic Education. Concluded that an impact evaluation of these two programmes would not be feasible with existing data.

Marisa Coetzee, Servaas van der Berg

Cohort study of students awarded NSFAS loans


Study for NSFAS which compared the progression of all students awarded bursaries from National Student Financial Aid Scheme and who started their studies in 2000-2004 to all other students.

Pierre de Villiers, Servaas van der Berg, Chris van Wyk  | PDF (1.7 MB)

An evaluation of the IkamvaYouth project


Evaluation of an NGO financially supported by DG Murray Trust.

Nic Spaull, Ronelle Burger, Cobus Burger, Servaas van der Berg, Chris van Wyk, Robert Dzivakwi | PDF (1272 KB)

Improving education quality in South Africa


A report for the National Planning Commission that formed the gist of the NPC’s recommendations on school education for the National Development Plan.

Servaas van der Berg, Stephen Taylor, Martin Gustafsson, Nic Spaull, Paula Armstrong | PDF (370 KB)

Child poverty in Namibia


A report for UNICEF Namibia and the Namibian Statistical Agency that investigated the profile of Namibian child poverty using the most recent household income and expenditure surveys.

Servaas van der Berg, Carlos Maia | An abbreviated and popularized version of the report is available from UNICEF

Child and maternal welfare in Botswana between 2001 and 2008


Study for UNICEF Botswana that pieced together the situation regarding child and maternal health in Botswana using a large number of datasets of Statistics Botswana.

Servaas van der Berg, Ronelle Burger | PDF (1370 KB)

Low quality education as a poverty trap


Study for the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development, a partnership programme between the SA Presidency and the European Union. Investigated both the correlates of education quality and how poor quality education affects labour market outcomes (employment and wages) of the poor.

Servaas van der Berg, Ronelle Burger, Stephen Taylor, Dieter von Fintel, Hendrik van Broekhuizen, Cobus Burger and others | PDF (1370 KB)

The UHABS Index: Monitoring universal household access to basic services


Data analysis for Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs, funded by the Business Trust, on the availability of basic services by District of Metropolitan Municipality and by province.

Servaas van der Berg, Derek Yu | PDF (22176 KB) PDF (1978 KB)

The impact of the global crisis on child poverty in South Africa


Combination of a macro (CGE) model of the economy and tracking the impact to micro-levels through the microeconometric modelling of the labour market. Undertaken in collaboration with the Financial and Fiscal Commission and the University of Laval for UNICEF. Various versions.

Ramos Mabugu, Servaas van der Berg, Margaret Chitiga, Bernard Decaluwe, Debra Shepherd, Dieter von Fintel | PDF (1230 KB)

Tracking public expenditure and assessing service quality in Early Childhood Development


Involved the design, monitoring and analysis of a Public Expenditure Tracking survey (PETS) and a Quality of Service Delivery survey of 900 Early Childhood Development centres in three provinces in order to track the funds they received from the state. Undertaken for Departments of Social Development and Education and funded by UNICEF.

Servaas van der Berg, Benita Williams, Chris van Wyk, Ronelle Burger, Martin Gustafsson | PDF (2041 KB)

Investigation of Grade 3 performance in Western Cape Schools


Research for the Western Cape Treasury and the Western Cape Dept of Education. Included 135 full day observations of Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 classrooms. Undertook the design of survey, responsibility for fieldwork and analysis, writing up the report and making recommendations for the WCED and provincial education minister. Recommendations were largely accepted and implemented in WCED.

Servaas van der Berg, Cheryl Reeves, Ursula Hoadley, Monica Bot, Paula Armstrong, Herman Meyer, Chris van Wyk  |  ZIP (3314 KB)

Financial Implications of National Health Insurance plan for South Africa


Study for the Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA) undertaken jointly with Econex

Servaas van der Berg, Ronelle Burger, Nicola Theron, Cobus Venter, Marine Erasmus, Johann van Eeden | PDF (1197 KB) 

Efficiency and equity effects of social grants in South Africa


Study for the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) as input into their recommendations on the division of revenue between the three spheres of government.

Servaas van der Berg, Krige Siebrits, Bongisa Lekezwa | PDF (862 KB)

Fiscal Incidence Study


Study for National Treasury analysed available data from many resources, including household surveys and fiscal data, to determine the recipients of subsidies and to estimate the distribution of spending to different recipients. Follows two earlier fiscal incidence analyses also undertaken for Treasury.

Servaas van der Berg, Alex van der Heever, Cobus Burger, Ada Jansen, Eldridge Moses and others| PDF (1942 KB)

Ministerial committee on school retention


Investigation of school retention, drop outs and the factors behind it for the Ministerial Committee

Servaas van der Berg, Derek Yu| PDF (1003KB)

Multi-purpose pilot study on school education in South Africa


Pilot study in Limpopo for the World Bank, focused on developing instruments for a possible school survey. It involved inter alia piloting a survey of primary schools and focus groups with parents, teachers and community leaders in Limpopo

Servaas van der Berg, Megan Louw, Rulof Burger and others

How much does infrastructure matter for school outcomes?


Study for Financial and Fiscal Commission. Utilised school survey data and investigated the international literature to determine to what extent availability of infrastructure contributes to educational outcomes.

Servaas van der Berg, Olivia Ezeobi

Determinants of education quality: Report on 2003 Western Cape Primary School Pupil Survey


Analysis of school survey data for Joint Education Trust (JET) to determine factors associated with improved performance in Western Cape schools.

Servaas van der Berg, Ronelle Burger, Derek Yu | PDF (216 KB)