RESEP’s DHET short course

Author(s): RESEP Group

The Department of Higher Education Training (DHET) course is funded by UNICEF. The course, which is a Stellenbosch University accredited short course, typically lasts two weeks. The aim of the training is to empower those working within the Department of Education to use their own data to inform future policy decisions. RESEP’s experience in working with data on the South African education system enables us to provide highly specialised training in management, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data.

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.