Good policymaking requires reliable, comparable statistics over time. Despite there being an annual survey of agricultural firms in South Africa, confusion exists about the number of commercial farms in South Africa and the structure of the agricultural sector. According to the agricultural census in 2007, there were 39 966 commercial farms, while the agricultural survey mentions a figure of 64 192 and 57 126 in 2008 and 2017, respectively. With such diverging numbers across time, which figures should we trust and how does one analyse trends in the sector and make evidence-based decisions?
It is critical that the debates leading up to the re-opening of South Africa’s schools, and the actual process of re-opening, which will almost certainly occur in stages, be informed by the emerging medical evidence and reports on best school practices. Re-opening the pre-school sector, covering around 2.4 million children, and the earliest school grades, seems least risky in terms of infections. Moreover, there are strong educational and nutritional arguments which favour prioritising these levels.
Many have to fall back on that familiar South African last resort, the extended family. It will take some time before the full effect of Covid-19, the lockdown and recession will be clear, writes Servaas van der Berg.
Using a dataset known as the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT), RESEP’s Martin Gustafsson assesses the South African response to COVID-19 relative to that of 139 other nations.
President Ramaphosa announced on 15 March that schools would close within days for just over three weeks, as opposed to the originally planned one week of school holidays. This is in line with steps taken across the world to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus. This is a sudden change of plan, and closures may be extended. What should South Africans look out for? What can they do to limit the adverse effects of this disruption on education?
The coronavirus pandemic working its way through South African society will have many knock-on effects, one of them will be hunger and malnutrition as 9-million children no longer receive free school meals while their schools are shut.
On the 20th and 21st of February 2020, RESEP convened a workshop on education research with participation from academics from the University of Bristol (UK), the University of Bath (UK), the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (India), and Tribhuvan University (Nepal), as well as key policymakers and researchers from the DBE.
Competing against some 738 data scientists from around the globe, RESEP’s Cobus Burger recently won the Uber Movement SANRAL Cape Town Challenge. Burger’s model was most accurately able to predict when and where road accidents were going to happen on Cape Town’s busy roads.
A cost-effective intervention that is easy to implement – this is how researchers describe the standardised reference letter that was developed to assist unemployed South Africans in their search for a job. The study found that job-seekers with previous work experience who use reference letters in their job applications stand to increase their employment prospects by more than 50%.
Two recent papers by RESEP’s Martin Gustafsson look into, firstly, the historical trends between nations in children’s reading and mathematics performance and, secondly, their future projections. These are based on three international evaluations: PIRLS, PISA and LLECE.
Over the period 2016 to 2018, RESEP were engaged in a study titled “Leadership for Literacy” funded by the ESRC/DFID. The project resulted in the collection of new data on reading in three African languages. In this research impact brief published by the REAL Centre, University of Cambridge, and The Impact Initiative, the impact of this work to establish tentative benchmarks in African languages is highlighted.
RESEP led an introductory training course on quantitative data analysis for researchers in education in Stellenbosch from 11 to 15 November. The course was attended by 29 participants working in education, and included graduate students, researchers, NGO memebers and policymakers from across South Africa. Funding was provided by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Endowment as part of RESEP’s Early Learning Programme.
(Note: this story originally appeared on the Stellenbosch University website) Even in high-poverty contexts, some children manage to achieve consistently good academic results despite…
We will be hosting an introductory training course on data analysis for education researchers from 11-15 November 2019. Put your nominee in touch with us for further information about the application process.
Reading for meaning: a common issue in President’s SONA speech and RESEP’s “Binding Constraints” report
In 2016, RESEP published the “Binding Constraints” report discussing the importance of reading for meaning by grade 3. Three years later, President Cyril Ramaphosa echoes this sentiment in his State of the Nation (SONA) address in 2019.
RESEP hosted a two-day workshop at STIAS from 4 to 5 July 2019, with participation from key academics and policymakers engaged in early learning research or implementation of improvement programmes. The topics covered include early childhood development and related programmes to improve the quality of grade R and ECD service delivery, assessment of children before they reach school-going age, reading trajectories in early grades and programmes to improve reading outcomes in school.
Minister Tito Mboweni, experts and researchers attend RESEP workshop on the South African Labour Market in a Macro-economic Context
On 20 and 21 June 2019, the labour group within RESEP hosted a small, successful workshop on The Labour Market in a Macro-economic Context at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS)
Symposium on Subsidised Housing hosted by RESEP (Stellenbosch University), Bath University and WC Department of Human Settlements
On May 27, 2019, RESEP and uMama of Stellenbosch University, Bath University and the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements hosted a symposium on subsidised housing at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS).
Congratulations to Tina Fransman, who not only starts her PhD at RESEP in 2019 but also won the 2018 Economic Society of SA (Essa) Founders’ Medal for Best Economics Master’s Thesis at a South African university.
Nangamso Mtsatse, a RESEP PhD student, has been named as one of the world’s top 30 rising young leaders (under 30 years of age) in the literacy field by International Literacy Association (ILA).