RESEP has conducted training sessions for a number of National and International Government Departments including the DBE, provincial education Department EMIS units, DHET, the Namibian Ministry of Education, the Namibian Presidency amongst others. The original courses were funded by UNICEF and subsequently mostly by the recipient Departments. These courses, which are mostly Stellenbosch University accredited short courses, typically lasts between one and two weeks. The aim of the training is to empower those working within the recipient Departments to use their own data to inform future policy decisions. RESEP’s experience in working with data on the South African and other national education data sets and systems enables us to provide highly specialised training in the management, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. The training is also informed by the research outputs produced by the team of RESEP researchers.

Over the two weeks, candidates are introduced to the basic data management and data analysis skills that are applicable when dealing with the large datasets usually obtained from surveys and examinations. The computer-based course further covers basic data management and analysis concepts as well as methods that can be applied to education administration. The intention is to provide district officials with a conceptual understanding of basic procedures for quantitatively exploring and understanding data, using a range of real-world datasets, mainly from South Africa, such as Administration data (SNAP, EMIS, MASTER LIST of SCHOOLS, PERSAL, LURITS & SA-SAMS) and Performance data (Matric Examination Results and ANA).

Topics covered include excel fundamentals (such as formatting of data, importing text files into excel, basic elements of data tables and understanding data structure), organizing and manipulating of large data sets (including the use of pivot tables) and statistical concepts (such as variable types, standard deviation, mean, median, frequency distributions and percentiles). These skills are acquired by doing hands-on exercises exploring the national Master List of schools, District Data and EMIS using Excel. The course also includes presentations by researchers from the Department of Education and Stellenbosch University. These presentations serve to demonstrate applications to the data analysis taught in the course as well as aid discussion on how to use data analysis to inform policy.