Identifying Binding Constraints in Education

87 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2017

See all articles by Servaas van der Berg

Servaas van der Berg

Stellenbosch University

Nicholas Spaull

Stellenbosch University

Gabrielle Wills

Stellenbosch University

Martin Gustafsson

Stellenbosch University

Janeli Kotzé

Stellenbosch University

Date Written: May 24, 2016

Abstract

This research applied two ‘conceptual lenses’ to identifying binding constraints in South African education. Firstly, identifying and solving binding constraints is a prudent use of limited government resources. Secondly, the root causes of the country’s low educational outcomes entail either a lack of accountability, or a lack of capacity. Both should be addressed. Four binding constraints to improved educational outcomes for the poor are identified: (1) Weak institutional functionality, (2) Undue union influence, (3) Weak teacher content knowledge and pedagogical skill, and (4) Wasted learning time and insufficient opportunity to learn. These factors interact to lead to low educational outcomes for the poor. The most important of these outcomes is the fact that 58% of South African children do not learn to read for meaning by the end of grade 4. This lack of literacy then becomes a binding constraint to all further learning. Thus the central focus of South African educational administration should be that “Every child must learn to read for meaning by the end of grade 3.”

Suggested Citation

Van der Berg, Servaas and Spaull, Nicholass and Wills, Gabrielle and Gustafsson, Martin A. and Kotzé, Janeli, Identifying Binding Constraints in Education (May 24, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2906945 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2906945

Servaas Van der Berg (Contact Author)

Stellenbosch University ( email )

Private Bag X1
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7602
South Africa

Nicholass Spaull

Stellenbosch University ( email )

Private Bag X1
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7602
South Africa

Gabrielle Wills

Stellenbosch University ( email )

Private Bag X1
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7602
South Africa

Martin A. Gustafsson

Stellenbosch University ( email )

Private Bag X1
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7602
South Africa

Janeli Kotzé

Stellenbosch University ( email )

Private Bag X1
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7602
South Africa

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