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South African Journal of Education

On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
Print version ISSN 0256-0100


WOLHUTER, C C. Weaknesses of South African education in the mirror image of international educational development. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2014, vol.34, n.2, pp.01-25. ISSN 2076-3433.

The aim of this article is to present a systematic, holistic evaluation of the South African education system, using international benchmarks as the yardstick. A theoretical model for the evaluation of a national education project is constructed. This consists of three dimensions, namely: a quantitative dimension, a qualitative dimension, and an equality dimension. International databases and the existing international taxonomies of national education systems are then used to evaluate the South African education system, along the three dimensions of the model. It is found that the weakest links are the facts that primary and secondary education enrolment ratios are not followed through to the higher education level; that input, particularly financial input, does not render a commensurate return in terms of the quality of teaching and learning, and learning outcomes; that the administrative component of the system and teacher input appear to be the two weak links in the system in this regard; and that stark inequalities exist in the education system. In conclusion, some recommendations for the improvement of practice and for further research are made.

Keywords : educational quality; equal educational opportunities; International Association of Educational Achievement (IEA) studies; international classifications of national education systems; Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) studies; Second Information Technology in Education Study (SITES) study; South African education system; Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) studies.

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