RESEP researcher, Martin Gustafsson, has been involved in a few studies commissioned by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) in recent years. Most recently, he has modelled the possible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global indicators of learning proficiency. The results of this were published in March 2021 in a report titled “Pandemic-related disruptions to schooling and impacts on learning proficiency indicators: A focus on the early grades” (PDF available below). A background Excel file has also been made available. The work draws on earlier work for UIS completed shortly before the pandemic. The report is part of what informs UNESCO’s position on learning losses and the necessary interventions to limit the harm of the pandemic on schooling. As the analysis shows, the evidence currently available already points to the effects of the pandemic on learning having been devastating. But it will also necessary to take stock of new evidence, in particular, country-specific studies into the magnitudes of learning losses, as this emerges, to firm up the picture of the pandemic’s effect. This work is just one of several ways in which RESEP has contributed to investigating the pandemic and the required policy responses. Specifically, RESEP researchers have been involved in producing numerous policy papers for the NIDS-CRAM project, as well as standalone standalone outputs (examples seen here and here) and media contributions (examples seen here, here and here).
Learner flows through schools: Using high quality administrative data to understand education system performance
The report analyses school flows, repetition, and dropout using a novel analysis of school-based assessments, and how well these predict future performance and learner flows. An important finding is that the high repetition and dropout rates in high schools imply an internal efficiency rate of only 49% (measured in terms of the years of enrolment in high school for every matric pass).
A teacher retirement wave is about to hit South Africa: what it means for class size
Teacher supply and demand is a complex matter. The ultimate aim is to have a teacher in front of every class, now and for the foreseeable future. This also implies an ideal class size. The quality of teachers is obviously important too – and a topic for another occasion.