Developing a model of school climate unique to secondary schools in South Africa: A multilevel analysis approach
Winnaar, Lolita Desiree
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The educational landscape in South Africa is unique and has also seen many changes since the dawn of democracy more than 20 years ago. The apartheid education system was marred by severe inequalities between schools and, for this reason, the democratic government post 1994 established a number of policies and interventions in an attempt to improve access, equity and quality between schools. The country has made significant advances in improving access to education. This is reflected in the Millennium Development Goals progress indicators showing that, as of 2013, almost all learners between the ages of 7 and 15 were enrolled in schools. While great strides have also been made with regard to equity, evidence shows that many schools in South Africa are still largely inequitable. Education quality, however, is an area that is still of grave concern and the matter requires much attention from educational stakeholders. International studies, such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), use learner performance to measure the quality of the system. Such studies consistently report that South Africa is performing poorly and that large inequalities still exist between schools in the country. Improved quality is associated with effective schools and, in South Africa, only 20% of schools have been found to be functional or effective. Much of research focussed on school effectiveness, both nationally and internationally, however has been explained by factors in the school, including the appropriateness of curriculum content, infrastructure, resources in the school and teacher content knowledge. These factors have been found to be strongly correlated with effective schools.
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