The Political Economy of South African Education: From Liberal to Competence and the Outcomes-Based System

Pierre de Villiers, Isaac Ntshoe


The aim of this article is to examine the provision of education through the different periods in South Africa's history, highlighting in particular how funding accelerated the expansion of access and the provision of quality education for certain population groups, while limiting it for others. Past policies will be discussed to indicate how they continue to shape practices on the provision of quality education and expanding access for previously disenfranchised groups 19 years after the democratic changes of 1994. The articles shows that although funding increased fourfold, especially for previously disadvantaged groups, and further incentives for students to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, these have not been accompanied by a corresponding improvement of equity of access, of outcomes quality and efficiency. Furthermore, these laudable policies have not been accompanied by an increase in the pool of students pursuing science and mathematics. Thus, despite increased funding, many deficiencies including poor performances in literacy, numeracy and reading characterises the schooling system. An analysis of documents was the primary instrument for collecting data. Quantitative data are presented by means of figures, table, and graphs, while a political economy approach was used to analyse the data within the particular context of South Africa during and post-apartheid.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n1p595

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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